Dear Google, as a Play Music user, decide what you want YouTube Music to be

youtube music app

Through 2019 YouTube Music continued its life as Google’s de facto music streaming app, unseating Google Play Music as the company’s new favourite musical child.

YouTube Music made its debut in South Africa in March this year and globally in May 2018, so it’s relatively young in app terms. Play Music, meanwhile, has been around since 2015.

The company has long made it clear that one must die for the other to live, with the latter all but ceasing to exist in its developers eyes. And that’s okay. Play Music is dated compared to its competition, still looks like an Android KitKat product, and hasn’t seen a substantial update in 2019.

But just as you’re reading this in 2020, it seems that YouTube Music hasn’t really seen any major development love either.

After already including smart downloads and the offline mixtape, the ability to play media on your device, and seamlessly flip through both video and audio tracks in 2019, the app still lacks a number of features Google has promised will be transferred from Play Music.

There’s still no option for legacy users of Play Music to transfer their playlists and downloaded music to YouTube Music.

Additionally, those who’ve uploaded files to their Google Cloud for playback — a feature enabled by Play Music — still isn’t available on YT Music.

At present, those who subscribe to Play Music for R59 per month receive YT Music and YouTube Premium for free. Personally, I still use Google Play Music, but that’s largely because all my music and playlists that I’ve made over hours and hours of using the app are stuck on the app.

Jumping ship to Spotify doesn’t interest me either, as I’m subscribed to a family plan, something that the Scandinavian service still lacks in South Africa.

Perhaps Deezer HiFi could persuade me to switch, but its premium tier is R120 per month, far too much for a single subscription. And then there’s Apple Music, yet another possibility and arguably has better curated playlists.

YouTube Music’s interface is undoubtedly more attractive than Play Music, especially for night-time use with its dark theme. But, again, it lacks features, and feels more like a product to highlight YouTube’s abundance of music videos than an actual app developed for music enthusiasts.

How serious is Google about YouTube Music as its flagship music app? It’s a question all Play Music subscribers will need an answer for in 2020.

Google hasn’t yet stated when it will finally add Play Music to the Graveyard, but we hope it adds its features to YouTube Music before it does. And soon.

Feature image: YouTube Music/Google

Andy Walker
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