Pour one out for Google Play Music, Google and Android’s official music platform from 2011 to 2020. As of Thursday of this week, Google has shut down all of its functions on every platform, and its website now redirects users to YouTube Music. Long-time users of the service are lamenting its loss in the face of less functionality on YTM.
Google Play Music initially began as an alternative to iTunes, a centralized place for Android users to buy individual songs and albums in MP3 format. But it made headlines by letting users upload thousands of songs from their personal collections onto Google’s servers, then stream and download them for free. In later years Google added Pandora-style streaming music stations and podcast functionality, with premium tiers offering ad-free listening to a large music collection.
GPM users were given plenty of advance warning that the service was shutting down, as Google offered to transfer their existing music collections to the new YouTube Music. But many of them have been less than happy with the arrangement, as YouTube Music’s interface is far more focused on videos and music discovery than simply playing back the music that you already own.
I wouldn’t say that Google Play Music was every the best in its field, but it was certainly among the best options on the market in terms of value thanks to that server upload option. And for an app that was pre-installed on most of the Android phones on the planet, it was very good indeed. Rest in peace, GPM. We’ll miss you.