While Google is moving some of its services to its own brand (e.g. G Pay replacing Android Pay), some services its moving away. Google Play Music is one such service, with Google confirming last year that the service would be rolled into YouTube Music and no longer directly Google branded.
Part of the Google Play Music offering was the Google Play Artist Hub. Most of us would never have heard of it, but this service allowed smaller / independent musicians to sell their music on the Play Store without having to deal with record companies or intermediaries. In other words, probably a good thing.
In an email sent around this week, Google has advised these independent musicians that the Google Play Artist Hub service will be closed at the end of this month, and those users will have to sign with an intermediary to continue to sell their music:
With the launch of YouTube Music last year, we eventually plan to replace Google Play Music with YouTube Music. In anticipation of this change, we are shutting down the Artist Hub.
Moving forward, if these independent musos wish to sell their music on Google Play (and have it available in YouTube Music) they can, but not directly anymore.
From 30 April, songs and albums uploaded via Google Play Artist Hub will disappear from the Play Store (including the radio and streaming services). Instead, artists will have to work with YouTube partners including AWAL, Believe, CD Baby, DistroKid, Stem or TuneCore:
What does this mean for Google Play Music users, though?
Well, that’s less clear. Will the Play Store continue to sell music in an era of subscription music streaming? What will happen when Google Play Music ultimately complets its transition to YouTube Music – will purchased music still be available? What if you’ve bought independent music and it disappears from the service at the end of this month?
My personal view? This transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music is one migration that I’m not really keen on. Android Wear to Wear OS was fine. Android Pay to Google Pay (or G Pay) was a good idea and well executed. No one lost any functionality.
With the move from Google Play Music to YouTube Music, we could lose a lot of functionality, and it’s feeling more like the shuttering of Inbox – a popular service, well used, that ultimately will end in a frenzied migration of features once Google realises it’s screwed up.