William Iven on Unsplash

This is an old post. Information here may be out-dated, or the post may re¬≠Ô¨āect opin¬≠ions or be¬≠liefs I no longer share.

This is a ‚Äúdraft‚ÄĚ post. If you‚Äôre look¬≠ing for an ex¬≠pla¬≠na¬≠tion of what a draft post is do¬≠ing on a pub¬≠lished site, you can Ô¨Ānd one here.

In short, this post most likely does not meet my high stan¬≠dards ‚ÄĒ at times, even base¬≠line. It may not be com¬≠plete, have spelling er¬≠rors, etc. I have pub¬≠lished it be¬≠cause I think in some way, as in¬≠signif¬≠i¬≠cant as it could be, you might Ô¨Ānd it re¬≠source¬≠ful.

Initially on my move out from a slot on a fam¬≠ily sub¬≠scrip¬≠tion on Apple Music to Google Play Music for want of a desk¬≠top/‚Äčweb app, I could jus¬≠tify the ‚āĻ99/month as an per¬≠sonal con¬≠ve¬≠nience cost. It cer¬≠tainly is hard to do to that, any¬≠more.

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 bum¬≠mer. I tried to speak to a Google as¬≠sis¬≠tant over real-time chat, and they in¬≠formed me there is noth¬≠ing that they can do to help me out. This is a ‚Äúfeature‚ÄĚ and it‚Äôs set in stone.

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

The ‚Äúlocalisation‚ÄĚ fea¬≠ture not just made the au¬≠to¬≠mated sug¬≠ges¬≠tions from Google dif¬≠Ô¨Ā¬≠cult, but also the process of man¬≠ual dis¬≠cov¬≠ery through charts and ra¬≠dios.

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 ‚Äúfollow‚ÄĚ my fa¬≠vorite 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 de¬≠sign it¬≠self has never felt dated to me - even 4 years from its in¬≠cep¬≠tion. I loved the card-Ô¨āoat¬≠ing-vi¬≠su¬≠als idea when it was Ô¨Ārst shown to the larger pub¬≠lic 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.

SufÔ¨Āce to say, it was hardly a good ex¬≠pe¬≠ri¬≠ence for a paid app.

Uncertain fu­ture

Google has in¬≠tro¬≠duced many ser¬≠vices across dif¬≠fer¬≠ent re¬≠gions glob¬≠ally. The strange thing, al¬≠though it should¬≠n‚Äôt be given Google‚Äôs his¬≠tory, they‚Äôre all do¬≠ing more o less the same thing ‚Äď- al¬≠low¬≠ing you to stream mu¬≠sic 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.