Google is taking one of its biggest steps yet toward permanently phasing out Google Play Music in favor of the company’s newer YouTube Music service. Beginning today, you can finally transfer your entire Google Play Music library — artists, albums, songs, playlists, purchased music, personal uploads, and recommendations — over to YouTube Music with just a few taps. This is a crucial process that some subscribers of Google Play Music have been waiting for before they’re comfortable making the transition that Google wants to see.
YouTube Music will be your only streaming music option from the company later this year when Google Play Music is fully shut down. Google isn’t specifying exactly when that will occur, but it says customers will receive plenty of warning ahead of time. There’s a lot of hand-holding going on here, with Google saying “we know it will take time to get used to, and we’re here for you” in a new video about the change. Everything is done through the YouTube Music app (or website), and I’ve outlined the process and answered some linked questions you might have in the article below.
If you don’t see the option yet, it’s because Google is doing a gradual rollout of this feature, so check back over the next few days.
It’s taken a very long time to get to this point, but I can at least tell you that Google has made the process of moving your stuff about as simple and as all-encompassing as possible.
The entire transfer happens in the background, and you’re able to continue using YouTube Music like normal while it’s in process. Even after you’ve migrated your playlists and uploads over to YouTube Music, you can keep accessing Google Play Music just as you always have for the time being. No one’s forcing you to take this leap immediately. But the writing is on the wall and has been for a while now. Starting with Android 10, YouTube Music replaced Google Play Music as the bundled music player on new devices.
YouTube Music was designed to blend the best of on-demand music streaming with all of the music videos and live performances that can be found only on YouTube. In recent months, Google has continued improving the service by integrating more features from Google Play Music — like uploads — and by adding a new “explore” tab to the mobile app, where you can find new releases, top tracks, or a playlist to dive into. Song lyrics are now easy to get to from the now playing screen as well. This shift is an important step if Google wants the service to build any kind of momentum.
Inevitably, there will still be people who bristle at the idea of being forced onto another service from the one they’re very familiar with and have spent years using. But there’s no going back to yesterday, friends. This change is happening, and we can’t stop it. Open up Google Play Music for a bit and remember the good times. The app has gone ignored for so long that it’s like an old, comforting a frozen friend in the sands of time. Don’t be fooled, though: its days are numbered. It’s time to move on.
Take a deep breath, and hit that transfer button. If you’ve got any questions after doing so, drop them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.