In streamlining its music offerings, Google is coming down the home stretch of a months-long migration of users from Google Play Music — which will start shutting down in September — to the YouTube Music app. In May, the company launched a migration tool (available at music.youtube.com/transfer) that lets Google Play Music customers transfer their music libraries to YouTube Music.
Starting in September 2020 in New Zealand and South Africa — and in October for all other global markets — users will no longer be able to stream from or use the Google Play Music app. However, according to Google, it will retain users’ playlists, uploads, purchases, likes and other data until December 2020 to give them time to transfer to YouTube Music. After the end of the year, Google Play Music libraries will no longer be available.
In addition, starting in late August, users will no longer be able to purchase or pre-order music (or upload and download music) from Google Play Music through Music Manager. Once the Music Store is no longer available, users will continue to be able to upload any tracks purchased elsewhere to YouTube Music.
Google’s strategy is to throw all its weight behind YouTube Music, as it continues to battle global rivals Spotify and Apple Music.
“Over the last few years, we’ve worked to build a fantastic fan experience on YouTube Music, merging the very best of Google Play Music with the very best of YouTube,” the company said in announcing the dates for the Google Play Music shutdown. “For users who decide not to transfer their Google Play Music account to YouTube music, we will be sure to cancel your subscription at the end of your billing cycle so you aren’t paying for a subscription.”
The ad-free YouTube Music Premium service is $9.99 per month in the U.S., and provides for offline and background playback. The $11.99-per-month YouTube Premium provides zero ads, offline and background playback for all videos on YouTube.
Google touted enhanced features it has added to YouTube Music “including many that are important and familiar to Google Play Music users,” in the hopes of keeping those users in the fold.
Some of the new YouTube Music features include: “assistive playlist creation,” which lets you add recommended songs based on existing songs in a playlist; collaborative playlists created with other users; and a redesigned player page for Android mobile with improved playback controls and easier access to related music and other features like song lyrics.
YouTube Music also has become available on Android TV, and the service is integrated with Google Assistant (so you can ask Google Home and Nest smart speakers to play recommended music) and with Google Maps on Android mobile apps to let you listen to music in the Google Maps app.