Google Play Music is Google’s music streaming service. It’s a competitor for Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, and the like. Each of those services has their own niche that it offers, but if you ask us here at Android Authority, Google Play Music is one of the best deals in music streaming available. The reason is quite simple – YouTube Red. When you subscribe to one, you get the other.
Google Play Music boasts 35 million songs and allows you to curate playlists, and even upload your own music. You can store up to 50,000 of your own songs, and those are always ad free. You can also use Google Play Music for free, though that is limited to artist radios, limited skips, and ads. Let’s dive into the nuts and bolts of how to actually use it.
Google Play Music app for Android and iPhone
If you’re out and about, and want to listen to some tunes, just pop open the Google Play Music app. Chances are if you’re reading this, it’s already on your phone, but if not, you can download it here for Android or here for iOS.
Once downloaded, fire up the app, and sign in with your Google account. If you don’t subscribe to Google Play Music, you’ll run into some limitations. You won’t be able to play specific songs that you’re looking for, only radio stations. They’ll get you close to what you’re looking for, but not the exact songs. You also have a limited number of skips – up to 6 in an hour. Finally, of course, you’ll get ads, and the occasional prompt to subscribe. None of these are absolute deal killers, but they can make it frustrating to get your jam on.
Where you at? – Location based suggestions
Your home page contains your recent activity and recommendations for you based on listening history and your location. Speaking of location, Google Play Music has some cool location-based features you might be interested in. First and foremost, Google Play Music can tailor music suggestions based on your location. This is most handy when you’re at the gym and want to get some good workout music going. Another neat trick that Google Play Music offers is curated suggestions of live performances based on music you’ve listened to. If you are a fan of My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult – and let’s face it, everyone is – the app will let you know that TKK is playing near you in April. Not that a superfan like you didn’t already know that, but it’s handy.
Using the Google Play Music app manager
Once you’re into the app, you can search by song or artist. In the search results, you have three options:
- Tap on an artist to open them and see songs.
- Tap the Play button in the bottom right corner to being playing the artist
- Tap the three dots below the play button to start artist radio, Share the artist, or Shuffle the artist’s songs.
Once you start playing music, a bar will appear at the bottom of the screen with the name of the artist and song and a single play/pause play control. Tap on that bar to open more details, including repeat play, cast, shuffle, like/dislike, and skip/go back. This screen will also feature album art.
In the upper right corner, tap the music note icon to see your current playlist. Or tap the three dots next to that icon to see a number of different options like “Start Radio”, playlist/library controls, and of course, the option to buy the song.
How to open Google Play Music on your dekstop
If you’re using a web browser, we highly recommend you use Chrome for how to use Google Play Music. Chrome has a mini player extension you can install that allows to you pop out a music control box. The app can run in a full window, but if you just want it out of the way, the mini player is a great way to go. The mini player gives you album art, playback controls, and like/dislike.
Otherwise if you’re using the full browser, You can get started by searching for an artist or song. From there you can click on a song or album to play. Google Play Music also lists all of your recent history – songs and playlists on your Google Play Music Home screen. This helps you pick up where you left off. Once you select a song and it starts playing, you’ll see a play bar across the bottom of the browser. First, you have options which include radio controls, library/playlist controls, and share/buy buttons. After that, you have the like/dislike buttons, play controls, volume, track listing, and if you’re in Chrome, the option to cast.
I’m Feeling Lucky
Google Play music also features a standout feature from Google itself – I’m Feeling Lucky. This feature, much like the browser feature is a randomly generated radio player based on your play history, music likes, etc. It can be handy when you’re not really sure what you want to listen to. On Mobile, you can tap the menu hamburger button -> Home and scroll to the bottom of the page.
On the web, the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button looks like a dice cube and it’s located on the far right side of the homepage in Google Play Music. In the Chrome app, it’s even easier to locate and (also easier to click accidentally). It appears as a dice cube above the play controls.
You can also learn How to use Google Play Music to play your favorite podcasts as well. All you need to do is search for a podcast, and subscribe to it. Podcasts are listed in their own section of Google Play Music. You can also discover new podcasts through the Podcast interface. The podcast homepage contains a number of popular podcasts. Beyond that, the podcast interface is exactly like the music interface.
There is one downside to the podcast interface is, if you’re really behind on a podcast, it can be difficult downloading episodes in bulk, and generally determining where you are in a podcast list. The red dot at the beginning of a podcast will disappear the more you progress through a podcast, but it’s not our favorite UI.
How to use Google Play Music – Wrapping up
So that’s How to use Google Play Music. Did we miss anything? Did you have any other questions about the service? Sound off in the comments and we’ll be sure to update this article periodically.
Google Play Music coverage
- 10 best music streaming apps and music streaming services for Android
- 10 best free music apps for Android
- Problems with Google Play Music and how to fix them
- Google Play Music could be killed off when YouTube Remix launches later this year (Updated)
- YouTube Music is official, but what will happen to Play Music and YouTube Red? (Updated)
- YouTube Music will eventually get Google Play Music’s best bits