Google Play Music: it’s not you, it’s me

After 3 weeks, I have to say no

When Rdio announced it was closing shop, I was crushed. It wasn’t simply because I loved the service and felt it was the best $9.99 I spent per month. Rather it was that I had to now enter the bleak, dark world of streaming music to figure out next steps.

Luckily I wasn’t alone and Medium proved to be a great place for this discussion (hence this post). In my heart of hearts it came down to two options: Spotify or Google Play Music. After reading Ian Patrick Hines article on Google Play Music, I figured I’d give it a try first, wishing, hoping and praying I liked it. And I tried. Oh how I tried.

Too much work

It’s a streaming music service, how much work is there? My biggest gripe with Google Play Music was that it felt like Pandora (or should I say Songza) with the thumbs up/thumbs down approach to “learning” your tastes. Sorry but I grew tired of constantly opening the app to like a song. I’m not saying it should just know but there has to be a balance. The entire experience felt antiquated to me.

No albums, just the radio

Which leads me to my second point which took me a while to get used to. (I preface this by saying I’m not a playlist person…) There is no way to simply listen to an album. Instead everything is a “radio” channel by song, band or album. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to listen to just that group or album. So I gave up and accepted that the radio feature was the be-all end all. (It’s also here I admit that on occasion the right song hit at the right time that I wouldn’t have selected otherwise).

Design

This is a biggie for me and one of the reasons I struggled to ever jump on the Spotify bandwagon. Here is really where Google Play shined. It’s simple, intuitive and courtesy of it’s Material Design, consistent across platforms. This I will certainly miss. It’s designed around the idea of finding the right song for the right occasion. Which in the end, just isn’t for me. I want a little bit more control over my listening experience I found.

Let’s take this offline

Last but not least, there wasn’t any real offline capabilities for Google Play unless I imported my own music into the service. While a great feature, I gave up on that year ago when I started using Rdio for that specific reason (of never having to again). This forced me into changing how I consumed podcasts to ensure I have something to listen to as I walk to/from the bus.

Enter Spotify

So as they say, let the games begin. Don’t let me down Spotify. You’re my only hope. Pro tip for those rdio users who want to transfer their collection and not just playlist into Spotify, use Move 2 Spotify.