Google Play Music review

Google Play Music highlights

Google Play Music review

As the world’s most popular search engine, Google is likely already your go-to source when you’re looking for information on artists and music, but it also offers a streamlined tool to listen to the tunes you love.

Google Play Music launched in 2011 as an invitation-only beta app and later became available to the public as a premium service. A free version of the Google Play Music app was rolled out in 2015. Four years later, the streaming service has amassed 16 million subscribers.

The future of Google Play Music isn’t very bright, however, as Google has confirmed that eventually its subscribers will transition to its other streaming music service, YouTube Music. No date for the transfer has been set, but YouTube’s Director of Product Management, Music T. Jay Fowler, explained that users would not lose playlists or uploaded songs in the process. Google made YouTube Music the default app in new Android devices in September 2019.

How Google Play Music’s plans compare

Each Google Play Music plan allows you to access the platform via Android and iOS apps and on your desktop. It also lets you store 50,000 of your own uploaded songs in the cloud. Both premium plans feature a free 30-day trial.

Google Play Music Free Google Play Music Individual Google Play Music Family
Monthly priceFree$9.99/mo.$14.99/mo.
Free trial lengthNone30 days30 days
Number of songsRadio stations with ads40 million40 million
Number of account users116
Offline listeningNoYesYes

How much is Google Play Music compared to competitors?

Starting at $9.99/mo., Google Play Music is right in there with its major competitors, like Pandora and Spotify, which also have a base rate of $9.99/mo. Unlike many other streaming music services, Google Play Music doesn’t offer a student plan.

Is Google Play Music the right streaming service for you?

Regular Google users will find that adding the Google Play Music app is a seamless way to access music at work, at home or on the go. Its minimalist interface and an extensive library make it easy to find music, no matter what mood you’re in. 

One of the strongest Google Play Music features is uploading and storing up to 50,000 of your own purchased songs. You can add music downloaded from other sources to your playlists. This is a convenient option if you already have an extensive library and want to listen to everything all in one app.

User experience

If you’re already a fan of Google’s simple interface, then you’ll love using the Google Play Music app. Large colorful images against a clean, white background and a very simple sidebar make it easy to navigate the app. It gives you the option to browse by category, including Top Albums, New Releases and Feel Good Favorites. Using the side tabs, you can easily search by genre, decade, mood and activity.  

Helping Google understand what music you like and want to hear is as simple as giving a thumbs up. As you listen to songs, you can click the thumbs up button and Google Play Music will automatically gather those songs into a playlist. It will also use that information to suggest music similar to your preferences.

The Google Music Play Family plan allows six users on the app at once. The individual plans can only be accessed by one user. The streaming service is compatible with a variety of devices including all iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, as well as Google smart products.

Device compatibility

All of Google Play Music’s plans are compatible with the following devices:

  • All iOS and Android smartphones and tablets
  • Chromecast Audio
  • Desktop 
  • Google Home
  • Google Nest

Google Play Music features

Google Play Music offers a pared-down interface that will feel like second nature to Google users. It also provides a massive library, offline listening and tons of cloud storage. Here are some of Google Play Music’s best features.

The cloud locker

The ability to store up to 50,000 of your own songs is one of Google Play Music’s most exciting features.

Music Manager

The app’s Music Manager program automatically searches for new music you’ve downloaded and uploads it to the cloud locker. 

Podcast library

Google has an extensive podcast library, although you’ll have to do some searching if you want to listen to more obscure shows.

YouTube Music

A premium subscription to Google Play Music gives you access to YouTube Music, which also features video content.

Random song selection button

Roll the dice and see what song you get. Click the Feeling Lucky button and it will randomly select a tune from the library to play.

What to listen to on Google Play Music

Between your music locker and Google Play Music’s library of 40 million songs, you’ll have plenty of content to explore. In addition to music, you’ll also have access to a decent collection of popular podcasts, including WTF with Marc Maron and Pardon My Take. There are a couple of downsides to the podcast selection, however. It only features the most popular podcasts. You’ll need to search to find less mainstream titles. You won’t be able to listen to podcasts when using the app on an iPhone because they are not available in the iOS version of the app.

The takeaway

Google Play Music’s benefits make it a solid choice if you’re already an avid user of Google products. Its easy-to-use interface virtually eliminates any learning curve. It’s a decent option if you’re looking to integrate your music library into a streaming service. That said, Google has already started phasing out the service—the process of transitioning to YouTube Music has already begun. So, is Google Play Music worth it? With the inevitable merger already underway, new subscribers might be better off simply signing up for YouTube Music from the start.

Shahrzad Warkentin

Shahrzad Warkentin is a lifestyle writer specializing in entertainment and pop culture. She has spent the last ten years crafting content, reviews and news stories on film, television, music and books among other topics. After receiving her B.A. in Screenwriting from Loyola Marymount University, she began her writing career in film and television. Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she loves hitting the beach with her family and catching up on Netflix.