In a Friday blog post, Google announced the YouTube-branded music streaming service would supersede Google Play Music as the default music player on Android devices. It’ll come pre-installed on new Android 9 and Android 10 devices, though Google was quick to note that Google Play Music can still be downloaded from the Play Store.
This probably won’t be all that disruptive in the short term, since the old app isn’t going away. Plenty of people probably use a separate service like Spotify anyway. That said, it’s worth noting that there are going to be drawbacks to YouTube Music becoming the new go-to Android music app.
As TechRadar pointed out, YouTube Music still doesn’t let users stream their own local files over the cloud like Google Play Music does. It’s a nifty feature for those whose tastes might be a bit more eclectic and want to listen to things they can’t find on YouTube Music. That feature is supposedly coming to YouTube Music at some point, but that point isn’t now.
YouTube Music first launched in 2015, but it got a major revamp in 2018 to become what it is now. It’s available in both free and paid variants, but the free version isn’t worth much. If you don’t shell out $10 per month, you can’t listen offline or play audio in the background. You’ll also hear ads between songs.
In any case, it makes sense for Google to slap the YouTube name on Android’s default music player. A massive portion of all music streaming happens through YouTube one way or another. YouTube Music still falls way behind its competitors in terms of raw subscriber numbers, but maybe softly forcing it on Android owners will inflate those metrics a bit.