The continual steps towards YouTube Music becoming Google’s only music platform are .. well .. continuing. Like a lot of users, I’m waiting for feature parity before I migrate over permanently. One of the final keys to that puzzle will be the user libraries and ability to upload music from your personal collection.
There are a few reports – US based – saying the upload feature is arriving, but the early signs aren’t great. While you can drag and drop files from your desktop to upload, it is 100% web based on YouTube Music vs the installable client for Google Play Music (GPM).
While far from perfect, that installable client makes uploading large libraries much, much easier. Chrome doesn’t handle bulk uploads very well .. as anyone who’s uploaded hundreds of photos to Google Photos can also attest.
There’s a few things to be aware of in uploading to YouTube Music:
- You can’t download your music again, so keep a local copy somewhere if that matters to you
- The upload limit for YouTube Music is double that of Google Play Music at 100,000 songs
- There are fewer supported formats: FLAC, M4A, MP3, OGG, and WMA are it
- Music you upload appears in its own section rather than appearing in search like other music in Google’s own library – this could be good or bad depending on how you use your library
- At this time, there is no way to correct the labelling or metadata associated with uploaded songs on YouTube Music – if you don’t get it right before you upload, you won’t be fixing it later
- There doesn’t seem to be a limit on the number of activated devices on YouTube Music – useful if you change devices regularly like I do
If you upload your own music, Google Play Music can operate essentially as a streaming service for your own private library. However, you can’t use the service and access the music that Google pays royalties for.
In contrast to this, YouTube Music allows users to utilise the service without paying for a subscription. Free users can listen to licensed music, but only with the screen active (lock the screen or switch apps and it stops), and you have to listen to (read: endure) ads.
According to Android Police there are some notable exclusions to using the YouTube Music service. A big one is the inability to stream your uploaded music to your Google or Nest Home speakers:
YouTube Music doesn’t let you access your uploaded files via a Google Home voice command at all. Instead, it will play the video version if available.
There’s a lot to like about YouTube Music at this point in time, but there’s a lot that GPM refugees are going to dislike. I can’t help but feel that Google will get one shot at getting this migration correct. If they miss the mark, there will be a significant number of users making their way to the likes of Spotify, Apple or even Amazon music for the platform stability.
Of course we will take a closer look once the feature becomes available to our team, hopefully some of the wrinkles may be ironed out by then.
What do you believe YouTube Music is missing before users will happily migrate en masse?