Google Play Music was an app that started as a play-and-store music service and gradually caught-up with industry trends like cloud streaming (under “Google Play Music All Access for $9.99 per month).
Originally, Google Play Music allowed users to upload their music in the cloud and access it on all their devices. They could also purchase songs from the music section of the Google Play store. Later on, it allowed users to subscribe to Google’s streaming and podcast service and access offline the tracks they had downloaded on their device.
It was more or less Google’s version of iTunes and Spotify combined with the good old MP3 player in a single package.
When Google released the Beta version of the app in May 2011, and six months later – the full one, Apple was already ahead in the game. Users could upload their tracks to the cloud, purchase songs from the store, and have everything stored on their accounts.
However, Google caught up in the next two years and kept the app up to date with all the trends that followed – podcasts, streaming subscriptions, offline play, etc. They even allowed customers subscribed to Google Music to have access to the YouTube premium content, and vice versa.
And that’s one of the things that led to Google Play Music’s shut-down. After all, there wasn’t much point in making two of their paid services compete against each other. Especially since they already were competing against services such as Apple Music and Spotify.
Furthermore, Google seemed to be more focused on its new YouTube Music service, so the announcement about Google Music being canceled wasn’t much of a surprise. In August 2020, Google informed users that they would gradually lose access to the streaming service and that they had until December to save their music or transfer it to YouTube Music. After that, the Google Play Music app was to be deleted.