Google is notorious for having a messy messaging platform strategy but its entertainment ecosystem is not any better. It once rallied music, moves, books, and news under a single “Google Play” banner but then probably realized that YouTube is a stronger brand. It has recently decided to eventually sunset Google Play Music in favor of YouTube Music but there has barely been any movement on that front until now. And it’s quite a tiny move at that.
Google Play Music is immediately recognizable as a music-centric app and service but Google and YouTube discovered that people were strangely using YouTube to play music as well. Not just watch music videos but just listen to audio in the background. That gave way to features and paid subscriptions that catered to that use case which, in turn, made Google Play Music redundant.
Google has already announced that YouTube Music will eventually replace Google Play Music and has even combined the subscriptions of the two to some extent. However, it can’t do that until YouTube Music attains all of the features that Play Music has. Or at least the ones Google plans on supporting.
At least YouTube Music reportedly now plays music you have stored locally on your Android phone, though it may only work with a YouTube Premium subscription. That is great for offline playback and for music you have acquired elsewhere that isn’t available from YouTube collection.
It still doesn’t let you upload your own music, though, which is probably the last major feature Google Play Music has over its YouTube counterpart. Until then, Google will have to continue offering two nearly identical but dissimilar services that, fortunately, don’t exactly cost twice as much.