Google Play Music lacks basic features and delight.

A draft post on why Google Play Music is not a good music player in India.

Be aware this is a draft post — please adjust your expectations accordingly. Get in touch if this post could use an improvement.

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.


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.


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