In May 2020, Google announced that it would be shutting down Google Play Music later in the year. This meant that users’ libraries, playlists, purchases, uploads, and other data would no longer be accessible through the Google Play Music service. For many users who relied on Google Play Music, this raised the question – what will happen to all my music that was stored in Google Play Music? Where did it go and how can I access or download it now? This article will provide answers to these common questions and outline the options available for accessing your Google Play Music data.
Why Did Google Shut Down Google Play Music?
Google Play Music launched in 2011 as Google’s music streaming service and music locker. It allowed users to stream music, purchase music through the Google Play store, and upload their own music collections to the cloud. At its peak, Google Play Music had over 50 million songs available and allowed users to upload up to 50,000 of their own tracks.
However, over time it became clear that Google Play Music was not positioned to compete with other major music streaming players like Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube Music. Despite various redesigns and improvements over the years, Google Play Music struggled to grow its user base.
In 2018, Google announced the launch of YouTube Music – a new music streaming service aimed to bring together the best of Google Play Music and YouTube. Following this launch, Google’s plan was to eventually replace Google Play Music with YouTube Music.
After a transition period, Google Play Music was officially shutdown in December 2020. All Google Play Music users were transferred to the new YouTube Music platform, which became Google’s focus for music streaming going forward. The shutdown allowed Google to concentrate its resources on growing YouTube Music rather than splitting them across two competing music services.
What Happened to My Google Play Music Library?
When Google Play Music shut down, all the music you had stored in your library and playlists was transferred over to YouTube Music. This includes:
- Songs and albums you added to your library
- Playlists you created
- Uploads from your personal music collection
- Radio stations you followed
- Purchase history and music you bought through Google Play Store
Your Google Play Music library should now be available in YouTube Music, along with your preferences, playlists, listening history and other data. So you shouldn’t have lost access to any of the music you had stored in Google Play Music.
However, there are some exceptions where your Google Play Music collection may not have fully transferred over. These include:
- Any unauthorized or DRM-protected content that violated Google Play’s terms of service was removed and not transferred.
- If you had over 100,000 songs uploaded, your collection was capped at 100,000 tracks due to YouTube Music’s upload limit.
- Previously purchased music that was no longer available on YouTube Music was refunded.
So for most users, the vast majority of their Google Play Music libraries are now accessible in YouTube Music. But in some edge cases, certain content may have been removed or limited during the transfer.
How to Download My Google Play Music Library
If you want to download a copy of your Google Play Music library before closing your account, there are a couple of options:
Use Google Takeout
Google Takeout allows you to download a copy of the data associated with your Google account. To download your Google Play Music data:
- Go to takeout.google.com and sign in with your Google account
- Deselect all services and scroll down to only select “YouTube and YouTube Music”
- For file type, choose “.zip” for songs or “.json” for metadata.
- Select “All YouTube and YouTube Music data included”
- Click “Next” and then “Create Export” to start the download.
This will allow you to download your Google Play Music library and takeout data as a zip file on your computer.
Use YouTube Music
Since your Google Play Music library is now available in YouTube Music, you can also download it from there:
- Open the YouTube Music app or web player.
- Go to “Library” to view your music collection and playlists.
- For individual songs or albums, right-click and choose “Download”.
- For playlists, click the download icon next to the playlist name.
- Downloaded music is saved on your device storage.
This allows you to selectively download the parts of your Google Play Music collection that you want to keep.
Transferring to Other Music Services
If you don’t want to use YouTube Music as your music platform going forward, you also have options to transfer your Google Play Music library to other services:
YouTube Music to Spotify
- Use a third-party tool like TuneMyMusic to transfer playlists and recommendations.
- Manually search and add your albums/songs to Spotify.
- Upload your downloaded music files to Spotify.
YouTube Music to Apple Music
- Use SongShift app to transfer playlists.
- Sign up for Apple Music and enable iTunes Match ($24.99/year) to match and upload your music.
While there isn’t a perfect migration solution, you have a few options to move your music library to another streaming platform if you no longer want to use YouTube Music.
Closing Your Google Play Music Account
Once you’ve downloaded or transferred your Google Play Music data, you can go ahead and close your account if you wish. Here are the steps:
- Go to music.youtube.com while signed in to your Google account.
- Click on your profile picture in the top right.
- Select “Settings”.
- Scroll down and click “Cancel subscription”.
- Follow prompts to confirm cancellation.
After cancelling, you’ll no longer be able to stream music through YouTube Music. However, any music you’ve downloaded to your device will still be accessible.
Your Google/YouTube account itself will remain active. Cancelling YouTube Music Premium only deactivates the music streaming subscription, not your core Google account.
Here are the key points to remember about what happened to your Google Play Music collection:
- The majority of your Google Play Music library is now available in YouTube Music.
- Playlists, purchases, uploads, and preferences should have transferred over.
- You can download your full Google Play Music data using Google Takeout before cancelling.
- Selectively download tracks from YouTube Music that you want to keep.
- You have options to transfer your music library to Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
- Cancel your YouTube Music Premium subscription once transfer is complete.
While the Google Play Music shutdown was disappointing for many users, Google did try to make the transition to YouTube Music as seamless as possible. Following the steps outlined in this guide should allow you to successfully preserve your Google Play Music collection. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance if you have any other questions!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are some of my Google Play Music purchases missing in YouTube Music?
In rare cases, certain purchased content may be missing if:
– The music was no longer available due to licensing restrictions.
– It exceeded YouTube Music’s 100,000 track upload limit.
– The uploads violated YouTube’s terms of service.
Google should have provided refunds for any paid content that didn’t transfer over. You can get help recovering missing purchases by contacting Google Play support.
What if I forgot to transfer my Google Play Music data before it shut down?
Unfortunately there is no way to access your Google Play Music data after the service shut down in December 2020. Google Takeout only provides data from active services.
Your best option is to search for your purchased music again and re-upload any files you still have saved locally. Playlists and preferences will have to be recreated from scratch in YouTube Music or another music app.
What are the differences between Google Play Music and YouTube Music?
Some of the key differences include:
|Google Play Music
|Over 50 million songs
|Over 70 million official songs + YouTube content
|50,000 song upload limit
|100,000 song upload limit
In general, YouTube Music has a larger catalog, tighter YouTube integration, but fewer supported user uploads compared to Google Play Music.
What happens if I cancel my YouTube Music subscription?
Your playlists and library will remain intact but you’ll no longer be able to stream music on-demand. Downloads may stop working after a grace period. Non-members can play YouTube videos but not full songs on demand.
The Google Play Music shutdown was a disruptive event for loyal users. But fortunately Google provided tools to make the transition smoother, allowing you to transfer the majority of your Google Play Music content over to YouTube Music.
Just be sure to use Google Takeout and your YouTube Music downloads to create backups before cancelling your subscription. This will ensure you don’t lose access to any of your purchased content and playlists.
While it takes some work to rebuild your music library environment, songs purchased on Google Play Music can live on in YouTube Music or any alternative service you choose to switch to. Don’t hesitate to reach out for any other help getting set up on your new platform of choice.