Google Play Music All Access Review: It’s Not a Spotify Competitor After All

Google Play Music All Access finally brings streaming music to Google's stable, but it's not really competing with Spotify at this point.

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Let’s get this out of the way: Google Play Music All Access is a terrible name, rolling off the tongue like a mouthful of marbles. I’m not sure what Google was thinking here, adopting such a clunky moniker for a fledgling streaming music service whose media-decreed rivals go by punchier handles like Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and Grooveshark. Why not something simpler like Google Music, leaving “All Access” to describe one of the subscription tiers? Even the name Google Play sounds catchier and more appropriate for something that dishes up tunes, but then Google already uses those two words (somewhat incongruously) to describe its entire digital distribution platform, from Android apps, devices and games to books, magazines and music.

Google Play Music All Access it is then, and I’ll henceforth be referring to it as GPMAA for sanity’s sake (or, as I’ve been pronouncing it out loud, “gup-mah”).

Google unveiled GPMAA yesterday at its annual I/O conference during an over three-hour developer-focused keynote, though of that time, the company only devoted a few minutes to touch on the service’s basic features. As suspected, GPMAA represents Google’s attempt to offer a subscription-based music service, streaming “millions” of songs — intermingled with up to 20,000 more, uploadable or song-matched from your personal library — for $10 a month ($8 a month if you sign up by the end of June). Chris Yerga, Google’s engineering director who steered this part of the keynote, explained that GPMAA would include common music streaming features like curated playlists, album recommendations and a build-your-own-radio-station feature.

In other words, GPMAA isn’t a wildly new product so much as another limb stitched into an existing framework. Google hopped into the music game in late 2011 with Google Music (later, Google Play Music), the company’s answer to Apple’s iTunes music store, the twist being that you could also upload up to 20,000 of your own songs and stream all of that to multiple Android devices. The service never really took off, though, and no surprise: Given the choice between having to curate your own music library (where you’re paying for every song or album and limited by what you own and limited by where you can listen) and throwing a few bucks at something that works on nearly any device, giving you instant listening access to an unprecedented single-source spectrum of music, which would you pick?

For Google to offer its own flat-rate streaming service was thus inevitable, but before we dive in — I’ve been playing with GPMAA on my laptop – I want to point out that those who view Google as simply an imitator (Google+ after Facebook, Android after iOS) are hung up on irrelevant chronology. It’s not about who builds first — Blizzard’s online game World of Warcraft is brilliantly imitative and Apple’s first tablet arrived nearly a decade after Microsoft’s Tablet PC — it’s about who can build better while at the same time capturing the public’s imagination.

It’s also, occasionally, about playing catchup — and that, unfortunately, is how you’ll probably feel coming to GPMAA if you’re familiar with other streaming music subscription services.

At first blush, GPMAA looks like a refined version of Google Play Music, the “My Library” views consolidated and new ones like “Radio” and “Explore” given primacy, while the playlist options are where they were before, at bottom-left. Instead of the older version’s blandly all-white background, GPMAA’s selection window now sports a soft gray undertone that’s less garish when viewed in low light while helping to accent the white rectangles that surround images like album art. For those with ultra-high-definition displays (I’m using a MacBook Pro Retina), everything’s much cleaner and crisper, say, than Spotify’s client, where app-native text looks as though it’s being viewed through an out-of-focus camera.

You can still search for music in a box up top, to the right of the Google Play logo, but instead of retrieving music with price tags, you’ll now find clusters of artists, albums and instantly playable songs. Click an artist and you’ll summon a page sporting a brief list of “top songs,” followed by a single-line carousel devoted to “albums” and another to “related artists.” Clicking a song prompts a player to appear at page bottom with conventional player features, including options to repeat or shuffle, adjust the volume and rate a track thumbs up or down.

Google hasn’t said precisely how much music lives in its revamped library — Spotify claims over 20 million songs in its catalog, but Google’s only reference to a number was the word “millions” tossed out during the unveiling [Update: Google lists “18+ million” on its “About” page; also, a prior version of this review criticized Google for a dearth of search results for major artists like Miles Davis and Bruce Springsteen as well as a few confusingly labeled albums — the same searches now turn up dozens of albums for both artists, all properly labeled — improvements to the service are apparently ongoing.]

Another feature I’m less than impressed with is Google’s relational matrix. To be fair, the “related” intelligence of every streaming service I’ve used veers drunkenly between competent and “Seriously?” GPMAA is no different: Drilling on “related artists” for Bruce Hornsby, for instance, turns up more era-related than historically interactive or style-related acts; surely an intelligent music search would know to surface Jerry Garcia or The Grateful Dead before Marc Cohn and Sting, or Ricky Skaggs and Bela Fleck before Shawn Colvin. Let’s hope Google’s much-vaunted semantic search engine technology isn’t the underlying factor here, because that’d just be embarrassing.

The “Radio” feature, which lets you create radio “stations” (based largely on the relationships mentioned above, for better or worse), works as you’ve come to expect radio features to since you first fiddled with Pandora years ago — with an interesting wrinkle: You can monitor what’s coming through a “Queue” view or re-initiate the radio mix and stream by clicking on it under the “Radio” view, which is unique, and possibly of interest if you want to curate your radio playlist (as opposed to not having to worry about it). That “Explore” feature, on the other hand, is more “been there, done that,” a view that simply makes recommendations, lets you browse new releases, discover new material sorting by genre or check out featured albums and playlists.

What about streaming quality? Lossless playback? A universal player? Family access plans? Music catalog certainty, i.e. artists and songs not inexplicably vanishing because a use contract ends or some deal falls through? Google’s settings make no mention of quality, so what you hear is what you get. [Update: I've since been told it's "up to 320kbps" based on your connection. Google apparently checks, then adjusts the stream rate accordingly, putting the service on par with Spotify.] If you want a universal player, alas, you’re out of luck: GPMAA is for browsers and Android devices only, another sign that Google’s only half-heartedly invested in music as an actual service and not just a platform-building exercise. As for family access plans, Google’s not offering one at this time (to be fair, neither is Spotify, though users have been clamoring for one for years); whether it (or others) should or not gets into the economics of service sustainability and fair compensation to artists, which is something Google’s also saying nothing about. It’ll be interesting to hear from artists about GPMAA over time; they’ve certainly had few positive things to say about Spotify’s remuneration model.

What I dashed off yesterday serves as a summary here: Instead of boldly leading, GPMAA merely extends Google’s toe-in-the-water approach to music, adding incrementally interesting features instead of galvanic ones. Unless you care desperately about curating your radio streams, a service like Spotify comes off as decidedly superior here — by wide enough margins that, especially given Spotify’s platform agnosticism, I’m not sure it’s fair to call GPMAA an actual competitor.

It’s a shame, really. Google had — and still has — an opportunity to do something daring in this space, something that can and ought to exist like Google Search exists beyond a single platform like Android. I’m not sure what the holdup is: market jitters, problematic label deals, the economics of profitable music streaming, a simple lack of imagination. Whatever the case, GPMAA is at best thoroughly competent — a diffident “me too” service that comes up short in too many areas to recommend over existing, more thoroughly outfitted alternatives.

MORE: Complete Google I/O Coverage on TIME Tech

83 comments
BlancaPez
BlancaPez

'"also, a prior version of this review criticized Google for a dearth of search results for major artists like Miles Davis and Bruce Springsteen as well as a few confusingly labeled albums -- the same searches now turn up dozens of albums for both artists, all properly labeled"

Only on the desktop version. On the Android app, you still get only 10 results shown when there are dozens of Miles albums.  Other than this flaw, it's eats Spotify.

khowellx
khowellx

I've always been all about Spotify, using it nonstop for the past few years. However, I decided to give google play a try because I was getting a little fustrated with my Spotify recommendations. Google play smokes Spotify when it comes to song discovery, due in part to the "I'm feeling lucky radio button"! I usually curate my music by tracks I hear through radio stations but sometimes you just don't know what kinda genres you're in the mood for to even pick which song/artist to listen to in the first place, but after rating just a few songs it was spot on.. and since it's google and google is all about their data, I'm positive it's only going to start getting better!

kcmartz
kcmartz

Also GPMAA doesn't have ads even with the free version, at least I don't experience them.

EdLinus
EdLinus

Here's a pretty compelling reason for me to use this service... it's the only one that's available to me if I'm not currently sitting in the US/UK/Australia/whichever other countries are covered.


I log on using my UK Google account (I've got one linked to my UK bank account) and listen to either my music, music I've added to my library or stuff that Google suggests based on my play history and likes... and it's introduced me to quite a bit of music that I quite enjoy.

fedos
fedos

 I love reading reviews of Google products that are written by rabid Apple fanboys. What is it about Apple's marketing that removes all imagination from their fanatics, leaving them unable to imagine a company doing things any way other than the Apple way?

gdtrfbbb
gdtrfbbb

I don't think the Tool who wrote this article owns  music or even likes music for that matter. If he did there's no way he would have made this most absurd statement - "The service never really took off, though, and no surprise: Given the choice between having to curate your own music library (where you’re paying for every song or album and limited by what you own and limited by where you can listen) "

Seriously? You would rather pay iTunes to listen to music, than upload your own and listen to it anywhere you want on any device you want ? You make no sense.

I have three Google accounts, Two are filled with (20,000 songs each) and the third is 1/2 way there.

I have been buying music for a few decades, why would i pay apple for the privilege to listen to stuff I already have? If it's something I don't have, I will buy it and upload it to Google or buy it from them. 

This author misses the  amazing feature of FREE Storage aka FREE Backup. To me that feature alone is priceless.



nathanp0583
nathanp0583

Yes, Lossless is basically pointless.  if you're at 320 or above, then you aren't going to hear the difference when listening through your phone or tablet, it just doesn't have the hardware inside to support quality sound.  If you really want decent quality, you need to be looking at something like the iriver AK100.  But if you are using 24-bit/ 192kHz then suddenly your much loved 32GB micro card is basically useless.  And that brings me to my next point, why are people downloading albums to listen to? Spotify allows you to have many more, but why have any in the first place? Why use your storage when you can use Google's? 

I don't use all access, but I do use Google music every day.  I figure why pay again for music that I already have? I am up to about 15,000 songs of the 20,000 that I can upload for free and stream back endlessly, and even though I have hundreds more GB of music, there is basically nothing I want to upload, because I just don't ever listen to it.  I say upload your own music, have a choice of streaming quality when playing it back, create your own playlists, (also the instant playlist feature which is basically the 'radio' feature/Pandora feature) and you can do all this for free!!!  

Google Music is awesome, but people don't use their brain before using the app.  Reminds me a lot of the nexus Q, the world viewed it as something that it wasn't and then complained that it didn't work.  Compare the Q to Sonos and it's an awesome device at an awesome price.  

FoOtLoOsE
FoOtLoOsE

Good Luck Google! Decent article but you only hinted at the quality of the MP3's and no discussion of WAV & FLAC playbacks. All of the below goes for Apple iTunes too! Buying variable bit rate MP3's at any setting is a waste of money and fatigues my ears. I find MP3's recorded at the highest sample & bit rates to be acceptable for cheap headphones, car, dance halls, etc.; but when it comes to a serious listening environment with high quality equipment -- even tone-deaf folks can hear the difference. At their worse, VSR and low bit rates are a lousy value and a poor product that falls short of the old 45rpm vinyl disc. Too bad we can't pay for these tin can files with wooden nickels! (oops, wooden nickels might be worth more than coins we use today with no silver or gold in them) Secondly,  I don't want the quality of a purchased product to be degraded because the network was running slow when my purchased product was downloading or playing. Thank you Google for trying to offer a better product. Now, please step up to the plate and sell the 'real' thing or a smaller real thing if that's what a specific customer wants.  (from a pro-studio engineer of 25 years)

My smart phone has a little 32GB card. Storage space is not the problem any more; can't say the same about what's between the two ears of a lot of folks today. Some of the music recorded on Optical Film Tracks before and after WWII has better fidelity than the sampled junk out there today. The other night I heard the same snare drum sample on the records of two major artists. And every lick was identical.

arronax50
arronax50

Lossless playback is almost useless, in 99% of the cases, your audio equipment is not good enough to hear the difference.


At least, people should test if they can hear the difference before wanting this as a feature.


And by test, I mean BLIND test.

dannybwooy
dannybwooy

I have got approximately 140 albums downloaded to my phone via Spotify and it uses 6 GB (43 MB per album) of space, I worked out what it would be downloaded via Google All Access Music and it turns out it would use 19.60 GB (140 MB per album) of space, considering the fact they are both running at 320 kps, Spotify is a no brainer for me!!

PointyBoots
PointyBoots

I cancelled my Google All Access Whatever service today. Spotify blows it away.

edwardsharpe
edwardsharpe

What a useless article. Let me upload my 5000-track library to Spotify for free-- oh wait, about that... Or let me use Spotify natively on my Linux box. Platform-agnostic? Maybe in your myopic little world.

Oh, and when you acronym-ize products instead of truncating them intelligently ("All Access," maybe?), you're not making your point any clearer; you're just making fallacious arguments.

samniall
samniall

what's wrong with calling it all access?

tarkwather
tarkwather

Google all access is the best solution IMO and as usual poorly marketed. Google all access is the only service that lets you listen to any song in their catalog, create play lists and PURCHASE songs you love and also store 20k songs and stream them for free. iTunes requires you to pay 24.99 every year to stream from the cloud. Pandora doesn't let you choose songs to play and Spotify doesn't allow you to purchase songs. Best of all, google music all access is just 7.99 per month and I can access my songs from any device. WHAT MORE CAN YOU ASK FOR? This is very different from other services and cheaper too. 

Closingracer
Closingracer

How is spotify Superior ? I have never paid for Spotify and never will because for 10 dollars for it just isn't worth it imo.... Google music All access is only 7.99 a month and after a year that saves me 24 dollars a year not spent on spotify ( I would try Sony music unlimited but i heard the UI is horrible for android )

holla
holla

It's the "release early, release often." philosophy of software and related services.  Google Play Music will improve, maybe to the point where it outcompetes Spotify in almost any category.  Google released the software before they are at that point, for all the people that don't care about the features missing, and also like the less complicated interface.  For all the others, it's waiting for improvements, then switching.

estocv20
estocv20

Wow, Matt doesn't like google I assume, from reading this article I find that Matt is constantley ignoring rumors or anticipated features (ex. Google Play All Access on iOS), Matt is also bashing or is unnecessarily criticising Google for other reasons, I just want  a good honest review with facts about the feature and adding in some rumors or possible paths that Google might take with  no "hate" for Google. Stating: "GPMAA is for browsers and Android devices only, another sign that Google’s only half-heartedly invested in music as an actual service and not just a platform-building exercise", How do you know? They might put some great effort into this service, it was just released so give it some time before you start to   hate  google for no trying.  "Simple lack of imagination", You really havent tried Android have you? Android has WAY more customization features than an iPhone, Android LEAKS imagination and creativity, Did you know that Google is offering programs like Google Now on iOS? Google is expanding to more than one platform. Before you start bashing a company stating that it's lacking a certain feature or ability, you might want to do some background research. As for the ACTUAL review, thanks for stating actual facts about the service.



Gany.mede
Gany.mede

Matt:

In the body of this article, you basically show that All Access has ALL the same great features as Spotify, plus more: a more beautiful UI, and radio curating, e.g..

But paradoxically in the last sentence you say Spotify is "superior" and All Access "comes up short in too many areas to recommend"... what?! Did I miss something? Literally your entire article suggests the exact opposite.

ManOrMonster
ManOrMonster

Google is superior in several ways:

1. You can upload any music that is missing from the streaming library. Spotify does not have that option. Grooveshark technically does this but for several reasons it doesn't work well enough.

2. Google's library organization is far beyond Spotify's pathetic drop-everything-into-a-spreadsheet approach. Browsing my library is actually a viable option... imagine that!

3. You can browse/play songs in your library by genre if you set them. You still have to set them, but I vastly prefer to organize my own music because genre is a tricky subject to get right. This leads into what I find to be the most incredible option:

4. You can edit your music tags even if the music was added from the streaming library!!! I can organize several bands into a genre called "Pirate Punk" and just listen to that. I can organize different artist names into a single artist (for instance, I can edit all "Rhapsody" albums to use "Rhapsody of Fire", their later name, instead). For someone who's very big on curating their music collection, it's a dream come true. No other service does this, and I'm surprised I haven't heard any reviewers mention this yet.

hossmandu
hossmandu

I love the fact that Google Play Music All Access lets me add songs that I don't own to an existing playlist of music I own and have uploaded.  Very cool.  Going to save a bundle on buying music.

randomfactor
randomfactor

After a few days as a user of All Access, there are two features I want most: First, I want to search public playlists by genre and popularity. Second, I want to ban specific artists from all "radio stations" and from third-person playlists when I'm listening to them. That would alleviate most of my pain points with All Access. I will probably stick with All Access past the end of the 30 day free trial, but if these features or something equivalent aren't added within a few months, I will drop it. It is simply too distracting to jump out of what I'm doing so I can dislike the current song that's playing when I've already marked it or many songs from that artist with thumbs down.

butcherchop
butcherchop

I totally dig what this guy is saying. I am/was a Spotify Premium user and loved it, best $10/month ever spent. As much as I loved it, there was a problem I'd run into at times, no De La Soul, no Del the Funky Homosapien, no Dr. Dre's "The Chronic" amongst others and I'd find myself switching back to Google Music to listen from my personal uploaded locker. Now with Google Music (Locker and All Access) I have my personal collection and the All Access catalog in one place. Its far more convenient and I've converted. Plus, it saves me $2 a month compared to Spotify. Its perfect for me.

techfueled
techfueled

I cancelled my google play music all access account after a few days..

It's almost an awesome service, and would be a really great maybe even irreplaceable option, except it's really annoying..

I like the real versions of songs (explicit), not the radio edits, and most playlists have a good number of explicit songs, but then they pepper in edited versions for some crazy reason, and there is no option to disable that.. It is really irritating to be listening to a song and get to scrambled or changed parts.. It's pretty distracting too when you're trying to work on something..

I'd happily subscribe again if they would fix that..

FoolishFox
FoolishFox

Seriously your first paragraph is wrong. The name of the regular service IS Google music and All access IS a subscription tier. Where is your research?

Minkawf
Minkawf

Actually, being able to listen to your own library anywhere is really great, not a limitation or drawback as is suggested here. Especially since lots of music isn't on Spotify, if you're into obscure stuff. The only problem is, if you've ripped a bunch of cd's to aac over the years, or purchase aac from itunes, Google Music, (or Play, or whatever), upon upload, will transcode all that to 320kbps mp3's. Maybe they do scan and match where possible, though I don't know if that's the case. Definitely, if they can't match, they transcode to mp3. Transcoding lossy to lossy is a terrible practice which kills sound quality. Mystifying that google would do this.

Here's Google spelling out their bad policy:

https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/1100462?hl=en&topic=1100183&ctx=topic

Here's a discussion that's been taking place on the subject:

https://productforums.google.com/forum/#!msg/apps/I2g1Pw44Hvo/BqF2LYsML64J 

guitarpete987
guitarpete987

@gdtrfbbb  You're not alone, sir.


I also found this statement to be absolutely unbelievable and borderline offensive to music aficionados everywhere. One of the BIGGEST joys of being a music lover at all is growing, organizing and curating my collection. GPMAA is a great service that has actually evolved into an even better one today. There truly is something great about being able to upload my collection for streaming anywhere, along with the other music I find on the site that I don't own. 


This writer seems to prefer "radio" type listening experience. Well, in my days I've found out that anyone who prefers this automated form of enjoying music to developing a collection of your own is no true music fan at all.

guitarpete987
guitarpete987

@dannybwooy  I don't think you're downloading that music in that level of quality. Something's off. There is no way an album at that bitrate would be that size on disk unless it was maybe an EP or an LP of 2-minute punk songs.

AndyGratton
AndyGratton

@dannybwooy If Spotify is using on average 43MB per album and lets say an average album is 50 minutes long, then the bitrate definitely isn't 320kbps, it'll be (43 megabytes * 1024 bytes * 8 bits) / (50 minutes * 60 seconds) = ~117kbps

ikt
ikt

@edwardsharpe"Or let me use Spotify natively on my Linux box." 

I'm using spotify natively on my linux box right now, here's a guide for you:

http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2013/01/how-to-install-spotify-in-ubuntu-12-04-12-10

"Platform-agnostic? Maybe in your myopic little world."

From the wikipedia pages:

Spotify:

Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows Phone, Linux, BlackBerry OS, Android, iOS and OS X

Google Play All Access:

Android

Available as a web app on iOS

Here's aother guide for you: http://netforbeginners.about.com/od/navigatingthenet/tp/How-to-Properly-Research-Online.htm

Closingracer
Closingracer

forgot to mention ... Just because Spotfiy "offers" a "better" service doesnt mean it is the best service out there. I have actually tried the free trial of Spotify after i signed up for the google all access and i don't like Spotify as I do Googles

ikt
ikt

@Gany.mede The body of the article is: The quality isn't as good, the library isn't as big, and it's not platform agnostic.

For me there's 3 things that matter in a stream service, the quality is good, the library is big, and it's platform agnostic.

So spotify it is.

rafal.ruta6
rafal.ruta6

@ManOrMonster In Google Play Music All Access I corrected artist names with several obvious errors in artist naming.  For example in some Harry Potter soundtracks the original artist entry was "Harry Potter Soundtrack", while of course it was John Williams.  I changed it into proper "John Williams" entry and in Web interface it shows them with other John Williams soundtracks (like Star Wars, which were properly tagged from the beginning).


But I still have a problem, because in Android mobile application on my tablet it still shows it under original, nonesens "Harry Potter Soundtrack" as an artist.  The same with some obvious typos in original database, like "Jean-Michel Jarre" (with a hyphen between two names) and "Jean Michel Jarre" (with a space between them).  Fixing works OK in web interface, but two artist entries remain in Android app.


Anyone can confirm or deny this issue?  Do you know how to fix it?  Or maybe I have to report it to Google, but I don't know any tech-service site when I can report flaws like this.


I would appreciate any help.


Best regards,

Rafal

JDz
JDz

@ManOrMonsterWith Google Music All Access you always need an Internet connection. In other words no option in laptop computers for Offline listening to music from their catalogue (this option is only available for Android phone users, even though everybody pays the same subscription). Yes, they let you download twice your tracks uploaded, but you can't sync music you don't own (again, unless you have an Android).


With Spotify you can sync any music from their catalogue for offline listening in any device, either phone or laptop, iOS, Windows, Android, etc...

The service is just not comparable.

jalexreyes80
jalexreyes80

@ManOrMonster Didn't know about that 4th feature. That makes GPMAA even better. So far it's been what I've been waiting from all the other music services, specially mixing Google's library with my own library as if they were one.

wh33ls
wh33ls

is the "block explicit songs in radio" option selected in your settings?

wh33ls
wh33ls

is the "block explicit songs in radio" option selected in your settings?

TimeSheep
TimeSheep

@Minkawf Would be much better if they at least didn't use the MP3 format. Android happily supports OGG, and I believe that is one of Google's favorites, so I see no reason not to use it (It's even open source, yay).

While I may not like to have them convert my FLAC audio files to MP3, I don't really care when it comes to streaming anyway, unfortunately this means that I must keep a backup somewhere else as well, to make sure I keep my beloved lossless studio quality files. Kinda takes the idea out of uploading music for streaming in the first place.

EdLinus
EdLinus

@ikt @edwardsharpe when the web version's just as good why bother with native apps? Then All Access has Windows *, OS X, Linux and possibly even the two fruit companies!

edwardsharpe
edwardsharpe

@ikt @edwardsharpe Cool, I wasn't aware they have a Linux client now (after 5-ish years?). But seriously, my bad. This article still doesn't make its point very well.

And thank you for being so condescending. You really showed me.

butcherchop
butcherchop

Sometimes two of the same albums are available (one censored, other explicit) and you have to pick the rright one. Other than that, I haven't had a problem on my end. I get all the curse words to keep me content.

techfueled
techfueled

@wh33ls if they fix it during this month, I'd happily sign back up.. If not, I'll never know..

techfueled
techfueled

Of course not.. that's why it is so annoying.. I want to hear the songs I'm used to, not edited bs, but it's like a 70 30 mix of explicit to edited

Minkawf
Minkawf

@TimeSheep @Minkawf It's understood that lossless files can't be easily streamed, and some compromise in quality is the price of the convenience of streaming. The point is that many of us have aac or other compressed-format files in our libraries. If we upload these files to google , we should be able to stream these actual files. Converting AAC to mp3, as google does, introduces another level of degradation that is not necessary. Files treated this way sound bad, noticeably. I don't believe other upload-and-stream services take this extra quailty-degrading step. I have confirmed with Amazon that they don't do it.


JasonLindig
JasonLindig

@kregear3 @techfueled This actually is untrue for the most part. I use both Spotify and Slacker, and when I am using the "select my music for me" type functionality, it never randomly plays edited versions of music. 

techfueled
techfueled

@kregear3 Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Google fan and would never use anything else, but the very least they could do is add an option to filter that stuff out, and I'm commenting on it because I'm sure I'm not the only one who is distracted by that and would be glad to know that happens..Also I'm hoping someone from Google sees this eventually and thinks "yeah, that's a good idea"..

kregear3
kregear3

I understand your frustration but I don't see this problem getting fixed.  Many times there are different versions of songs that may be on a live album or a remastered album.  So these songs will probably have the same artist and title.  Your solution of only playing your version of the song means you will skip out on hearing these.  I guess they could theoretically put a play explicit version only; but I don't see any of the services doing that. Again I have had that same experience when you notice a song is different, but I really don't see any of the services "fixing" this. I'm not trying to make a big deal of it but I don't think it's fair to knock Google for it when nobody else is going to be better.

techfueled
techfueled

@kregear3 @techfueled I expect more from Google than I would from small fries, and that's a simple thing that they should have thought of.. I know for a fact that the explicit albums are also on google play of the songs that it was playing for me.. Some of the songs it played I even have purchased from them, yet they play me the edited version instead? I'd say that's pretty much a goof on their part, and I'm not going to pay for this service with a goof that large..

kregear3
kregear3

@techfueled Google is just playing the music you like off from different albums.  A lot of various artist cds and movie albums have edited songs.  When google plays off from these albums it is what it is; it's not google just trying to mess with you.  Your going to have the same problem with other streaming services.  

christopherwoods
christopherwoods

@Minkawf@AlexReds@TimeSheep

As Amazon receive direct encodes of catalogue from labels (mostly via distribution companies like Believe Digital, INgrooves etc) encoded from masters in their preferred format - 256 kbps MP3 - what they are doing, as Minkawf says, is scan-and-match. By uploading your copy you are simply instructing them to make their own (approved, confirmed quality) copy available to you through the Cloud Locker. Your uploaded copy is effectively discarded once it "unlocks" their copy, just like iTunes Match.

Google also receives audio direct from labels via distributors, and have for years (first for their audio fingerprinting Content ID scheme for YouTube, latterly for their music service) but would need to implement scan-and-match to replicate this functionality. I imagine they're already working on it to lessen the net storage burden across their server estate.

Minkawf
Minkawf

@AlexReds @Minkawf @TimeSheep Re: Amazon---They use the word "encode", not "transcode". I think that means that files purchased from the Amazon store are encoded as 256 mp3's.  My point that that if you upload aac's from your library to Amazon, they are stored unchanged, and are not TRANScoded. I wish google had the same policy.  

AlexReds
AlexReds

@Minkawf @TimeSheep @Minkawf @TimeSheep Amazon kb says different story.. Where possible they will transcoding into 256Kbps VBR mp3..


http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/?nodeId=200389400

"Where possible, we encode our MP3 files using variable bit rates for optimal audio quality and file sizes, aiming at an average of 256 kilobits per second (kbps).

Amazon Cloud Player also supports the import of eligible .wma (Windows only), .ogg, .wav, Apple Lossless (Mac OS only), .aiff, and .flac files where we have rights to provide you access to high-quality 256 kbps .mp3 files using variable bitrate encoding from Amazon's MP3 catalog."