What I want to see from Google Play Music (aside from a name change) is:
- Keep improving music discoverability. It has become better, but could be further improved.
- Family plan. I want to pay $15/month and give it to my wife and kid.
- Fix the strange YouTube bug, where if I hit pause on Play Music, and then start a YouTube video within a few seconds I get an error telling me I am already playing media on that device (or similar). What does YouTube have to do with Google Play Music anyway? YouTube is ad supported, Google Play isn't. There is no cross-over. This issue shouldn't be a "thing." Plus I might be watching a YouTube video muted and listening to music (yes, people do that!).
- The new interface is arguably a step backwards (just like every Google Maps update). You keep "simplifying" away functionality.
- The offline playback stuff continues to be pretty clunky to set up. If I know I am going on a road trip and will be driving out of range, actually adding that music to the device is a huge pain, and often the easiest way is just to leave the device playing music for days and let it build up a cache. Horrible.
It's not obvious but the way to do this is to "pin" (aka mark as keeping for offline) playlists on the device. Create a few travel playlists, pin them on the device, put the device on wifi or change the data settings in the app, go to the web client and mass drag and drop songs onto the travel playlists. I manage about 6 GB worth of offline music this way and it works decently. Once in a while you have to go into settings and tap "Refresh Music" to get it to recognize a new playlist but I maybe do that once a month.
I can be listening at work, add a song to the playlist, and then back at home the device automatically downloads the new song over wifi for when I go running. (I'm sure spotify does this too)
This is what's stopping me from paying for it. I already pay for Pandora, and my wife and I are able to share that. Sharing an entire google account isn't going to happen.
There is actually cross-over, whether you like it or not (most people don't). Youtube Music Key: https://www.youtube.com/musickey
I say YouTube is probably the number one way most teenagers actually listen to music. This isn't music videos mostly. It is pictures of the cover art and the music. I seriously listen to my music through YouTube in another and I am rarely disappointed in not finding the music I am looking for.
What is not to like. I can listen with the screen turned off. I use this feature to listen to one off podcast I would like to list to and the YouTube play list made by users are amazing. Also to have no ads while listening to YouTube music is great.
No ads is nice, but useless for anyone who is willing/able to install an ad blocker on their phone. You can promote content producers more effectively by spending the money you would drop on a subscription on buying an album, going to a show, subscribing on Twitch or becoming a patron on Gratipay anyway.
Offline access is nice, but other commentors claim it's "clunky", and if it's not especially convenient, then it doesn't give me anything I havent been able to do for the last decade with youtube downloader apps.
So really all it does is make the mobile background play a paid feature, which is obnoxious.
It's very anti-user, I use it to listen to longer podcasts in the background.
Worth rooting for: http://repo.xposed.info/module/com.pyler.youtubebackgroundpl...
If I want to watch music videos I'll go to the Youtube app. So damn annoying when I accidently tap the play video hover button when I really meant to swipe to the next song.
If it weren't for YouTube's popularity I'd say the integration was a sign of desperation.
Google Music keeps track of every radio station you create and listen to, but it is sorted by last played in a single list.
I have 10 radio stations that I really enjoy, but I try to not try out too many new ones in case I lose the ones I really like. It has happened a few times.
The "save queue" option is nice... but it destroys any discoverability off that station because it is now a static playlist.
Edit: Radio station downloading now seems to grab at least twice the amount it used to. Which puts it firmly in the "meh" category when it comes to usefulness.
You may not have noticed if you use an adblocker, but your Google Music subscription now removes ads on music videos on YouTube (as well as the ability to save videos offline on your Android device)
Could you explain what you have lost exactly ?
>The offline playback stuff continues to be pretty clunky to set up.
What is your issue with it ? In my experience, it works fairly well.
I am genuinely curious
I don't how to make it start downloading them again.
I agree that this is sub-optimal, but I think up until recently it was actually impossible unless you started another download and tapped the notification.
I sometimes start syncing an album before commuting. It stumble and stops in the metro but starts again by itself afterwards.
I am not sure what the default behavior of the app is. Probably to only download while on wifi, so it does not kill your data allocation. Again, you need to go in the settings in order to change this. Better than having angry users I guess.
My remaining problem with it is their device limit. You can have 10 total devices, but you can deauthorize only 4 per year. This sounds like a lot but if you switch phones often or flash new ROMs you can use it up pretty quickly. In addition, if you upload music to the service the computer you use counts as a device. Once you're at your limit there's little you can do and you have no information on when you'll get a device deauthorization "credit" again. I had to call Google to get a one-time reset of my authorizations but it would be nice if they could modernize this some; such as by only using an authorization if you download music to the device for offline listening.
I'll often forget to stop streaming the music at work and start listening to it on the bus on the way home. My workstation at work then fights for control of the service with my phone and every other song drops out with "another device is using the service".
Whichever genius at Google came up with that one deserves a rapid promotion into the tiers of bureaucracy.
After all, most of the time it's not another human using both sessions at once.
My great fear of these services is that you will have a less diverse music ecosystem. Sure the average Anglo-American listener has a lot more options, but if you want to learn about other cultures, you are toast.
I use it and it's great.
Compared to every other service I've now tried (Songza, Spotify, Grooveshark, Rdio), Play Music is great!
It was nice because i could then cache my favorite Songza playlists and cache them on my Google Music App. Handy
My biggest issue with Songza was the lack of selection. They have some great playlists, but after listening all day they get pretty repetitive. Google Play seemed to have the benefits of Songza with way more selection.
Where did you run into issues with play music?
What's not catchy about "Google Play Music All Access"? ;)
I'm seriously thinking that Google just licensed the audio they're streaming, but they didn't even care about getting proper audio files and they're simply streaming the audio their users uploaded.
In my country there was a big scandal a few years ago when a couple of radio stations started playing Billboard Hot 100 songs. I guess they couldn't source the new songs in time from reputable sources for some reason (licensing restrictions, logistical failure, no idea...).
So they simply downloaded them from local torrent trackers. The thing blew up, because a guy that was uploading and seeding the albums put his own catchy promotional jingle in the middle of most songs.
Unfortunately Google seems to follow the trend nowadays. Take for example the Play Music Radio Page. There is a list with photos and titles of my favorite songs. For every song there are 4 links, one on the thumbnail, one on the play button inside the thumbnail, one on the title of the song and one under the thumbnail that opens a menu with additional options. The thing is that none of these links and options plays the song displayed. Clicking on the song's title, plays an entirely different song!
Even worse and I think this may indicates the absence of serious dogfooding, is that I can't anymore select text on the page. Same did spotify. So I can't play the song and I can't copy-paste its title in the search bar. Instead I either have to type the title manually or go and search my library.
When I just want to listen to some random music I just play my thumbs up playlist. But every time I open Google play, you have to click to open the hamburger menu because menus are no longer trendy on desktop sites. Want to have a list of what's playing be your homepage? Impossible in the new google play, you can only view the playlist in a popup.
Also, it's terrible for music discovery and totally (if unintentionally) chauvinistic. Their algo is bloody awful, it seems to use one song as the basis for "I'm feeling lucky" and never mixes up genres. Also, related artists to females? Other females! I like quite a few female artists, but if you click "I'm feeling lucky" there's a 20% chance google music will only play me female artists. And it will spiral into genres I don't even like and have no songs thumbed up, purely because they're female too. It will never play related artists from a different sex. I've got a couple of screenies somewhere of a list of 50 odd songs recommended to me, all female artists.
Okay, so is the problem that "I'm feeling lucky" is bad because it "never mixes up genres", or...
> if you click "I'm feeling lucky" there's a 20% chance google music will only play me female artists. And it will spiral into genres I don't even like and have no songs thumbed up, purely because they're female too.
...is the complaint that "I'm feeling lucky" is bad because it does mix in genres you don't like based on the sex of the artist?
Because it can't be both.
It isn't a "random station", basically the issue is that it never reseeds from your data.
So it's nothing like a station that's good for music discovery based on your previous choices, it's just discovery based on a previous choice.
I'm sure Google could design better, but it's probably just low priority.
So far all the music tastes detection algorithms I have seen are pretty awful.
For example I listen to a lively rock or pop song and ask “play music” to start a radio station based on that; it will continue with lively songs of the same genre.
On contrary spotify would either continue with rock ballads or slow pop songs. It seemed to me that spotify doesn't understand the context of the song (not sure if this is the right word), instead it reads a generic genre and tries to play something from the billboards. It would continue with ballads even when I started a radio station with a power/death/thrash metal song!
It's likely, even with a lot of internal users, that none of us have hit the text selection problem, or haven't reported it (or there's some technical or prioritization reason for it). I'll look into it and report it to the group though!
With spotify you can't select text anywhere. It was one of the most serious shortcomings for me because when I listen to a song and want to learn more about it, the web-browser way is “select -> right click -> search with google”. :)
Are there others?
Your recent redesigns consistently suck ass on desktop.
That it is a Metro app can be a plus or minus. If you want it in a window, you'll have to wait for Win10 or use something like DisplayFusion.
There's also Tomahawk (https://www.tomahawk-player.org/) but I found it a bit too buggy, and unable to canonicalize songs across the streaming music providers.
If something's not available for streaming, or in the store, you can upload it yourself.
They're from a bunch of people complaining about this or that issue/concern/worry/gripe from Play and a few of its competitors... but it seems like it never occurs to anyone that it's not 1958 anymore. You don't have to be a passive consumer that has to put up with this shit.
I run a Plex server at home, I can stream my music anywhere. I've even had a little luck streaming actual FM radio stations the same way (I haven't found one yet that doesn't do http streaming on their website, and if you extract those links and add them to Plex...).
You would think in a time when basic necessities are extremely cheap for a significant portion of the world population, people would be more willing to spend money on art. But instead, the vast majority would rather get something for free than pay for it. And the people who pay the $10/month for the convenience of Spotify or Google Play Music or Apple's music product don't care that only pennies of that actually goes to the artists.
All that the shift to all-you-can-eat streaming services has done is make it so that people feel they don't need to buy music (since they're paying for the right to stream any time, there's no value in purchasing a copy) and shift where the money goes away from artists.
I'm going to stick with supporting musicians directly, and do what I can to let people know that it's not that hard to do the same, and that artists appreciate even a little bit of support a LOT.
Here's something to try. Think about some songs or some album you go back to over and over. Think about the way the music makes you feel, if it lifts your mood, lets you concentrate, or in any way improves your day. How grateful are you for that great 4 minute track? Or for the 50 minute album you played at twice per week last summer?
Did each listen of that song bring you 5 cents worth of joy? Or maybe even just 2 cents? If you have a last.fm account, you can look at your plays and total it up. I have well over 5000 plays for my most listened-to artist. The next time I see them, I can give them $100 in return for nothing, and just say "thank you" for making great music and encourage them to make more.
It's not about these companies being evil, or the business model being wrong. It's that very rarely does anyone consider the people behind the works that they listen to every day, even if that music has some personal importance or sentimentality. The reality is that those people who put out your favorite album are probably working part time jobs just to keep producing music, even if they have enough notoriety to be invited to international music festivals, or are even lucky enough to have a song licensed for a tv show or commercial.
Musicians will continue to make music out of passion, even if they have no hope or even aspiration of commercial success. Any bit of encouragement and support you can give will give them extra motivation to keep producing music, which is a benefit to you, as a fan of what they do, and also a benefit to other fans.
I'm probably just rambling to a wall here, but if you're someone who has their day slightly improved by music, take some time to consider if you want to be one of the few who supports the people who make your life better. Because they certainly aren't being supported by the services that you're using to listen to them.
Somewhat ironically unaffiliated or indie musicians make a higher percentage of music sales than some big names. However, because the total "pot" is small they still can struggle to get by.
I guess my point is: The entire topic is muddy, and not as black & white as you're implying.
When I listen to the radio, I want to discover new music. Last.FM was amazing for this but there was a mass exodus shortly after CBS acquired it and the site has lain dormant and the search engine seems to have gotten worse.
http://bandcamp.com/ is pretty reasonable for music sales, 15% fee.
 http://wfmu.org/ NYC
 www.kexp.org/ Seattle
 http://www.kxlu.com/ Los Angeles
This isn't a problem with the streaming services, it's a problem with publisher contracts. Streaming services pay out 70% of their revenue but publishers take the majority of it.
This is due to the artist's contracts with their record labels. Also, what percentage of a CD or iTunes sale do you think goes to the artist?
* A free music locker you can upload your songs to
* iTunes-like store, with non-DRM'ed files and offline support
* Spotify-like subscription service, with offline support
* Pandora-like radio stations, with the addition of "I'm Feeling Lucky" radio that adapts to your listening habits, and offline support :)
* Songza curated playlists/stations
* Great web and mobile apps
* YouTube video integration (I don't really use that though)
* Pretty decent discovery
edit: forgot the store.
Please never add this. I don't want my radio to be a social network. The "profiles and activity" is explicitly why I don't use Spotify.
The social aspect doesn't make much sense with the plethora of streaming music service options available it seems anyway. We have services like Twitter and Facebook and Reddit for social and we have Google Music, Beats, Rdio, Spotify, and others for Music. My experience is that all my friends are each using their own music service, so unless everyone was using the same one it doesn't seem to make sense for the use case of sharing playlists or new music with friends.
Google doesn't get social. I can't even share a photo from Google Photos onto Facebook that shows the actual photo; at best they'll share a link with a small thumbnail – at worst it prompts people to login to see it and shows nothing of value on FB. I get it...they're competitors...but the effort required to share an "Google Awesome" photo drives me away from sharing the good stuff they do do.
From my experience, most of the large streaming services out there are roughly equivalent on music selection and sound quality, so all that matters is how I can use it, not what I can play on it.
How can you tell it's an "Android" app?
Never really gave Google Play Music a shot since, quite honestly, no one every talks about it. I've tried Pandora and Spotify and they weren't all that great. Well Pandora was only good because if you install AdBlock you never got ads. I'll have to try it out and see if maybe a switch is in my future.
I'm surely not the only one who likes making and sharing playlists for different moods and occasions. It would be interesting to know why such a simple yet important feature is missing.
I personally am finding they are going backward though, I've been a subscriber for a while but they've just removed the radio icon over radio stations so it's hard to see in the recent activity whether it was a radio or actual album.
You mean like ... real radio right?
All the other various streaming services seem to work here - I wonder what the issue is for Google's?
Also I don't understand what they mean by "ad supported". How will that work? I am not a paid user, and I've been listening for almost an hour and still haven't heard one ad yet.
I wish people would stop echoing that. It would make it so much more possible to have a meaningful discourse about ad supported business models. We don't call anything else that requires something in return "free"
Yes, you make "less" on a Streaming service than me paying you $10, but if you decide to both have a label which takes 98% of your profit, AND allow your music to be Streamed (which offers a better UX, but less direct monitization), then you're making poor choices, imo.
Streaming services (music/movies/etc) are becoming standard because the UX is excellent. They may need some tweaking, but it is a painless UX. Imo, they're here to stay, and for good reason.
: as i last saw from another HNer, when these conversations get repeatedly brought up. Unfortunately i don't have the cite.