Another classic “it wasn’t ready for primetime” product

THERE’S SOMETHING in the air. Can you feel it?

No, Roland hasn’t been at the beans again, but after months of near silence on the matter, it looks like Google Play Music is about to be retired.

We’ve known it was coming for a while – YouTube Music has been around as a successor for some time but lacks feature parity meaning that it would have been somewhat “unwise” to migrate everyone yet.

Occasionally something vaguely related to the topic comes up, but it’s hardly even noticed. But four signs in a week? Heck, you’d have to be pretty cynical to not spot a pattern.

So why do we think the Google Play Music end is nigh?

Well, like we said – four things.

Firstly, gift subscriptions for Google Play Music have been withdrawn. Not a huge deal, unless you particularly want to subscribe someone else to a service that you know is on borrowed time.

Second, YouTube Music has finally gained the ability to sort the order of your files. It’s a small thing, but one of many that needed doing before YTM could be considered any kind of player. I mean – it doesn’t even support Chromecasting yet. What even? 

The bigger omissions right now include music uploading and migration of GPM purchases, both of which are vital to stop all heck breaking loose when the time comes.

Yes, that’s right. If you haven’t noticed, it’s still a spectacularly unfinished service.

That doesn’t stop point three, though. YouTube Music is rolling out in Waze. Big whoop, you may say if you’re in Blighty, given that the crowdsourced traffic app hasn’t taken the almost mythical status it has with US users.

But in some markets, not least the US, Waze is king, and there’s no way that Google could get away with not adding YTM before it was considered complete.

Last of all. That Play Store redesign. It’s gorgeous – but have you noticed? The MP3 store is gone. Although Google has said it intends to keep Play Music sales alive, in the new build, the only way to access that part of the store is via a single link in plain text, tucked away at the bottom of the side menu.

Although we’re no clearer to an actual date for migration, things are now, not just moving, but actually accelerating for YTM. There are several features that will have to be addressed before it becomes more than just a Vanishing Twin, waiting to reabsorb its sibling.

In the meantime, if you subscribe to Google Play Music, you’re automatically signed up to YouTube Music too. Download it – take a look. It’s all promise and relatively little execution right now, but it can’t stay that way forever. µ  

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