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Last updated on Dec 16, 2019

Google Play Music Review

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Google Play Music

Pros

  • Free listening options
  • Upload your own music
  • Appealing apps

Cons

  • Comparatively small music library
  • Difficult playlist management

How We Reviewed Google Play Music

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10 hours of music listened

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20 artist stations created

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5 music streaming services compared

Google Play Music Review

There’s a lot to love about the Google Play Music streaming service, which includes both free and paid listening options, user-friendly apps, as well as new music discovery. Google Play Music also provides local music recommendations based on the user’s location.

The streaming service is available on Android and iOS apps, via a web player and across the Google device family, including Android TV, Chromecast, Google Home, and Sonos.

Google Play Music Packages Compared

Google Play Music Free
Google Play Music Individual
Google Play Music Family
Price
Free
$9.99/mo.
$14.99/mo.
Contract length
Unlimited
Monthly
Monthly
Free trial length
Always available
30 days
30 days
Offline listening
Yes
Yes
Yes
Song skipping available
6/hour
Unlimited
Unlimited

How We Evaluated Google Play Music

When it comes to music streaming services, users have no shortage of options to choose from. Most provide similar features, content libraries, and user experiences at comparable price points, which can make it difficult to decide which is right for you.

We took a look at how Google Play Music’s features and statistics stack up against its main competitors.

Google Play Music vs. Other Music Streaming Services

Google Play Music Individual Amazon Music Unlimited Apple Music Pandora Spotify
Premium starting monthly price $9.99/mo. $9.99/mo. $9.99/mo. $9.99/mo. $9.99/mo.
Free trial length 30 days 30 days 3 months 60 days 30 days
Max sound quality 320 kbps 860 kbps 256 kbps 192 kbps 320 kbps
Number of songs 40 million 50 million 60 million 30 million 50 million+
Number of subscribers 16 million 32 million 60 million 72 million 100 million
View plans View plans View plans View plans View plans

Key Google Play Music Considerations

Free listening

Google Play Music includes a solid free music streaming resource. Users can stream customized radio stations based on listening preferences, favorite artists, and current mood. However, the free version includes ads and only permits six song skips per hour. Free users can import up to 50,000 tracks and play them across various devices. They can also discover and subscribe to podcasts. Upgrading to the paid version removes ads, enables unlimited song skips, and allows users to create playlists of up to 1,000 songs.

Local recommendations

One benefit of Google’s vast location knowledge is that it can make music recommendations based on where users are. The Playing Near You and Local Favorites playlists, as well as various radio stations, suggest popular music nearby. Of course, that assumes users actually like the music that’s popular in their current city, but it’s a cool tool regardless. Google Play Music also recognizes whether users are in the office or at the gym, and suggests music based on that location information.

Appealing app interfaces

The look and feel of Google Play Music’s apps separate it from the competition. For example, the Android app we used features vibrant background colors and a simple but appealing block design. The desktop app is more spacious and changes color as users scroll up and down the interface. For Google Chrome users, there’s also a useful extension tool that enables them to easily manage and customize stations and playlists.

Broad station choice

Google Play Music has a wide range of stations that help users to discover new music. We found everything from “80s Stadium Rock Anthems” and “TFI The 90s” to “Drum & Bass Anthems,” “Smells Like Grunge,” and many more. Simply select a preferred music genre, and the service will suggest a wide selection of variations on that theme. From there, listeners can explore similar stations or simply listen to the artists included on the playlist.

Upload your own music

On top of streaming millions of songs, Google Play Music also enables subscribers to upload their personal music collections. Up to 50,000 tracks can be uploaded for online streaming or offline listening.

The Bottom Line

The long-term future of Google Play Music has been in doubt since the launch of YouTube Music back in 2015. And the service’s demise looks even more likely given that the YouTube Music app recently replaced the Google Play app as the default music player on new Android devices. However, it seems that Google Play Music is here to stay, at least for the short-term.

Free listeners can browse and listen to Google Play Music’s impressive range of stations and podcasts, as long as they don’t mind putting up with a few ads and limited song skipping.

This is a solid music streaming option for anyone who’s keen on new music recommendations and looking for a service that allows them to combine their own music with on-demand content.

About the Authors

Rob Latham

Rob Latham Contributing Writer

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives.