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Google Play Music is dying: How to get your music off Google Play now

Google Play Music is dead: how to keep your library alive
(Image credit: BigTunaOnline / Shutterstock.com)

I've got some bad news for Google Play Music lovers. The rumors are true: Google is killing off its Play Music service this year, and it just confirmed the news in a blog post.

Or, rather, YouTube made the announcement, because the big news is that Google is finally ready to replace Google Play Music with YouTube Music. Fortunately, you'll be able to migrate everything you have on Google Play Music, keeping the music alive, so to say. 

We've long loathed the eventual death of Google Play Music, but knew it would come as Google has long made its intents known. 

While this feature isn't live yet, YouTube is already promoting its ease of use in the below YouTube (of course) video. 

Fortunately, Google is letting people bring their uploaded Google Play Music songs to YouTube Music. We don't need to worry about making everyone change over to Apple Music, the only other service with a cloud-locker function. 

The below steps, YouTube says, will bring your uploads, along with purchases, "personal and subscribed playlists, likes and dislikes, curated stations and personal taste preferences" to YouTube Music, so all you need to get used to is the app's design, which ... well, at least you get to keep your music files.

How to get your Google Play Music uploads and account on YouTube Music

The following video and steps detail how easy it will be to make the leap to YouTube Music. The only caveat is that you might not have access to this transfer feature yet. I say that because I just tested this out for myself and didn't see the big Transfer button. Readers have reported that it works for them.

In the announcement post, YouTube hinted at the fact that this is an option rolling out in staggered waves, as many features and updates do these days.

It said, "Starting today, we’re excited to officially begin inviting Google Play Music listeners to effortlessly transfer their music libraries" and "All Google Play Music users will soon receive an email with detailed instructions." Emphasis ours, in both cases.

  1. Download the YouTube Music app from the iOS or Google Play store.
  2. Click on the transfer button in YouTube Music. (This is what's not there for me, yet, and I clicked through every menu I could).
  3. Try visiting this page if step 2 isn't available.
  4. Google will notify you when the migration is complete. 
  5. You'll find your content in the Library tab.

As much as we didn't want this to happen, I'm starting to come around to it. The more time I spend watching video on YouTube — Radiohead just posted one of its best concerts ever, from Bonnaroo in 2006, on YouTube, for free — the more this makes sense because of the seamless connection with the popular video service that does house a lot of music. 

YouTube Music pricing explained

You'll continue to spend the same amount — even if that's $0 — on YouTube Music as you did with Google Play Music. That means there will still be a free ad-supported version of YouTube Music. The $9.99 per month YouTube Music Premium kills the ads and adds background listening. 

Personally, I get YouTube Music Premium for free as part of the $12 per month YouTube Premium, which kills ads in YouTube and offers offline playback.