William Iven on Unsplash

Caution!

This is an old post. Information here may be out-dated, or the post may re­flect opin­ions or be­liefs I no longer share.

A note on qual­ity

This is a draft” post. If you’re look­ing for an ex­pla­na­tion of what a draft post is do­ing on a pub­lished site, you can find one here.

In short, this post most likely does not meet my high stan­dards — at times, even base­line. It may not be com­plete, have spelling er­rors, etc. I have pub­lished it be­cause I think in some way, as in­signif­i­cant as it could be, you might find it re­source­ful.

Initially on my move out from a slot on a fam­ily sub­scrip­tion on Apple Music to Google Play Music for want of a desk­top/​web app, I could jus­tify the ₹99/month as an per­sonal con­ve­nience cost. It cer­tainly is hard to do to that, any­more.

I had spent a few mis­er­able months on Apple Music. Tired of plug­ging 3.5mm au­dio ca­bles into my phone all the time - at home and else­where, at times not even hav­ing the op­tion - I de­cided to leave my free spot on a fam­ily Apple Music sub­scrip­tion and moved to Google Play Music. A web-app and a na­tive Android app must be good, right?

Well, it did­n’t quite pan out like that…

As an Indian user, I can only pick from mu­sic in Indian lan­guages

Google has a lo­cal­i­sa­tion fea­ture. It makes a lot of de­ci­sions for you based on your lo­ca­tion. If you’re in India, it tries to al­most push down on you re­gional mu­sic.

Unfortunately for me, that was a bum­mer. I tried to speak to a Google as­sis­tant over real-time chat, and they in­formed me there is noth­ing that they can do to help me out. This is a feature” and it’s set in stone.

Poor artist dis­cov­ery - new, top, trend­ing all are Indian charts

The localisation” fea­ture not just made the au­to­mated sug­ges­tions from Google dif­fi­cult, but also the process of man­ual dis­cov­ery through charts and ra­dios.

Radio/Charts was the least used op­tion on the app for me - al­most never. The only times I would re­turn to it? To see if Google is still push­ing lo­cal­i­sa­tion or if I can start to dis­cover fresh or new mu­sic more atuned to my tastes and pref­er­ences. Nope.

Inability to follow” my fa­vorite artists

Apple Music al­lowed me to fol­low artists, and view a col­lated artist feed in one sin­gle tab. This was great! I was al­ways caught up with my fa­vorite artists with­out fol­low­ing them around on dif­fer­ent so­cial me­dia plat­forms.

GPM, or Google Play Music, has no such fea­ture.

No dark mode

Material Design is great. The de­sign it­self has never felt dated to me - even 4 years from its in­cep­tion. I loved the card-float­ing-vi­su­als idea when it was first shown to the larger pub­lic back in 2014, and still do.

But…

It’s 2018. AMOLED screens are pop­u­lar, and dozens of apps I use na­tive sport a dark mode - even a pure black mode specif­i­cally for AMOLED screens, help­ing squeeze out just a tiny bit more bat­tery out of the phone. Who likes their eyes blinded by a white screen dur­ing the late hours any­way?

Music videos on… YouTube? Another Google plat­form?

Google Play Music did not na­tively have mu­sic videos in its cat­a­log. The magic idea, in­stead, was to have a pop-up on the screen that would play the YouTube video for you, should you want to play one from within GPM.

Suffice to say, it was hardly a good ex­pe­ri­ence for a paid app.

Uncertain fu­ture

Google has in­tro­duced many ser­vices across dif­fer­ent re­gions glob­ally. The strange thing, al­though it should­n’t be given Google’s his­tory, they’re all do­ing more o less the same thing –- al­low­ing you to stream mu­sic at home and on-the-go.

  • YouTube.
  • Google Play Music.
  • YouTube Red.
  • YouTube Music.

Some re­gions had two or more of these avail­able to them, some just one, oth­ers all. Make up your mind, Google!


Afraid GPM could go away any time as the larger fo­cus seemed to be mov­ing to­wards YouTube Red, and YouTube Music, I chose to exit the plat­form of my own ac­cord and move my stream­ing col­lec­tion while I had a com­fort­able cush­ion to do it from.