It's official: YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music by December, Google said Tuesday. And in the next few months, Google Play Music users will lose access to streaming in the Google Play Music app. But YouTube Music recently unveiled a tool to help you transfer your entire library, profile and playlists from Google's streaming service into YouTube's revamped one with just one tap. YouTube Music is also getting some new features that may make it a bigger competitor to streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music.
For now, users will have access to both services, giving them time to move their music over and get used to the YouTube Music interface. But starting at the end of August, you won't be able to purchase, preorder, upload or download music from Google Play Music through Music Manager. And starting in September, users in New Zealand and South Africa will no longer be able to stream from or use the Google Play Music app. In the US and other areas globally, that will happen in October.
You'll still find your playlists, uploads, purchases and likes in Google Play Music until December, so you can make your transfer to YouTube Music. But your Google Play Music library will no longer be available after December.
YouTube Music released a tool back in May to help you move your music, playlists and preferences over to the platform, which we'll explain how to use below. Or you can use Google Takeout to export a copy of your library while you decide what to do with it. If you haven't done either yet, now is the time. If you don't transfer your account, Google will cancel your subscription at the end of the last billing cycle (you'll be notified ahead of time).
As of last year, YouTube Music and Premium had, compared to about 130 million on Spotify. Where YouTube Music stands out from its competitors is in its deep integration with your YouTube and Google profiles, which translates into better recommendations for you, the companies say. Since many people use YouTube for music discovery, the Music app tracks your video searches and determines what you might want to hear next.
How to move your music from Google Play Music to YouTube Music
2. You'll see a transfer button at the top of the screen in both Google Play Music and YouTube Music. Tap it from either app, and your uploads, purchases, added songs and albums, personal and subscribed playlists, likes and dislikes, curated stations and personal taste preferences will all start moving from Google Play Music to YouTube Music.
3. Depending on how much music is in your library, the move could take up to a few hours. You can close the app and use your phone in the meantime, and open it back up to track the progress if you want to. You'll get a notification and an email when your music library transfer is complete.
4. Open YouTube Music and find your music in the Library tab, along with updated recommendations.
If you listen to podcasts on Google Play Music, you can also transfer your subscriptions and episode progress to Google Podcasts by going to podcasts.google.com/transfer.
What's the deal with YouTube Music?
YouTube Music works through an app and web player, offering more than 50 million official tracks, albums, deep cuts, B-sides, live performances and remixes.
YouTube recently added several new features, based on user feedback:
- Playlist creation: Playlists can now have up to 5,000 songs (instead of the previous 1,000). You can also do a quick search from within a playlist to add a new song, and add music videos to playlists along with songs. Stations from Google Play Music are now found in YouTube Music as playlists, and you can search through their tracks.
- Uploads: Listen to your uploaded and purchased music from Google Play Music, after you transfer, or add up to 100,000 personal tracks to your library in YouTube Music (Google Play Music only allowed 50,000).
- Offline listening: Paying members can download any song, playlist or music video, or let a smart downloads feature (available on Android only for now) do it for you.
- Explore tab: A new Explore tab offers music discovery, including new music and playlists by mood or genre.
Another cool feature: Toggle over to the lyrics of a song while you're listening to get karaoke-ready, or over to its music video, which plays in real-time with the song.
How much does moving to YouTube Music cost?
Right now, pricing is the same between Google Play Music and YouTube Music. You can listen to an ad-supported version of YouTube Music for free, or pay for YouTube Music Premium for $9.99 (£9.99, AU$11.99) a month, which includes background listening, downloads and an ad-free experience. You can also subscribe to YouTube Premium to get those benefits across all of YouTube, for $11.99 (£11.99, AU$14.99) a month.
Google Play Music Unlimited members will automatically be moved to the equivalent tier of YouTube Music Premium or YouTube Premium based on their current subscription, at the same price.
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