I’ve been using Google Music for about a week now. I’ve primarily been using Spotify for music discovery and streaming my library of music via Google music when on the move. Some may already know this but for those who don’t Google lets you upload 20,000 songs to their service for free. That’s an actual 20,000 mind you not like the “20,000 songs” that Apple will have you believe when you buy an iPod. If you wanted to upload 20,000 four hour songs you totally could. Recently Google added a new feature to Google Music called Infinite Streaming that more or less is meant to directly compete with Spotify and the soon to be announced Apple counterpart.
I’ve used Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and now Google Infinite Streaming over the years and for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you just can’t or don’t want to take a huge library of music with you. For me it’s next to impossible as I have more than 200 gigs of music alone and a whole closet of CDs stashed away. So music streaming is a pretty attractive option to me as it lets me take nearly every bit of music I listen to on the go while also having access to a bunch of stuff I don’t own. As a music discovery tool it’s pretty fantastic. I can’t even begin to tell you how many new artists I’ve come across since using any of the streaming services I listed above.
As a service Google Music has always been only as good as the music you can put into it. Be it the music you buy through Google Music or the stuff you upload to them. As a streaming only service its comparable to the other services. I’d say it doesn’t quite have everything Spotify does but then again they’ve had a lot more time to build up their library. Granted Google Music has been selling music for a lot of artists that aren’t currently on the streaming service but I’m sure they’ll eventually make their way to the streaming side of things.
For my money I feel like Google Music is pretty much the best service of its kind available. The personal library upload being 100% free and remaining that way is great. This means if you find yourself not streaming a ton of new music, and want to cancel but not lose your ability to stream your own library, you can do this. Not only that but you can buy music and it automatically gets integrated into your personal library.
On top of all this Google Music is an absolute joy to use on your phone. The interface is intuitive and looks great. This is one place where it not just beats Spotify, it destroys it. Art is big and clear, media controls are big and easy to hit, searching is super easy, very easy to create/edit playlists, and in general its just a great experience on the phone. As an added bonus Google Music doesn’t require any additional software download when used on the PC. You just login to your Google account and it all plays right there in the browser. That might be viewed as a negative to some but to me this is great since I can literally go anywhere and get access to my music.
The one place where Google Music does not do better than Spotify is social network stuff. Now I can’t say I’m not surprised since Google is all about pushing that Google+ connectivity but I’m sorry Google, just not gonna happen. Also I would love it if I could share and create playlists with friends or send them songs but these are things currently I can not do. It might seem strange but these features made long road trips great since everyone in the car could contribute to what we were listening to and we didn’t have to pass an aux cable around.
I really don’t know how many subscribers Google Music has. But given how much Android has penetrated the market and that Google Music comes pre installed on every phone, I have to think that it’s fairly large. I will more than likely keep Spotify around since it is still one of the best ways to send music and pretty much the only convenient way to send playlists, full albums, or have collaborative playlists with friends. But will I subscribe to Spotify again? Probably not for now at least. Google Music has a lot of MY actual music and anything they don’t have their streaming service appears to be more than capable of providing.