Is Google Play a music app?

Introducing Google Play

Google Play is an app store and digital distribution service operated by Google. It serves as the official app store for certified devices running on the Android operating system, allowing users to browse and download applications developed with the Android software development kit (SDK) and published through Google.

Google Play was launched on March 6, 2012, bringing together Android Market, Google Music, Google Movies, and the Google eBookstore under one brand, marking a shift in Google’s digital distribution strategy (

Google Play serves as a digital media store, offering music, books, movies, and television programs. It previously offered Google hardware devices for purchase until the introduction of a separate online hardware retailer, Google Store, on March 11, 2015.

As of 2022, Google Play features over 3 million Android apps. Along with generic search and browsing features, the store includes curated editorial content like “Editor’s Choice” listings.

Google Play as an App Store

Google Play is the official app store for the Android operating system, providing a catalog of over 3.5 million applications for users to download and install directly onto their Android devices (Source 1). According to one report in January 2024, there were over 3.5 million apps available on Google Play, with 96.9% of them being free to download and 3.1% paid apps (Source 1). Of these apps, around 451,688 were gaming apps and over 3 million were non-gaming apps (Source 2).

As the official Android app store, Google Play provides a key distribution channel for developers to reach Android users. Its massive collection of apps covers a diverse range of categories including entertainment, productivity, lifestyle, news, and more. Google Play has established itself as the dominant app store for the Android platform.

Google Play Music Service

Google Play Music was a music streaming and locker service developed by Google. It allowed users to upload up to 50,000 songs to the cloud, stream and download them to devices, and listen to curated playlists and radio stations (Wikipedia).

Some key features of Google Play Music included:

  • Music locker – Users could upload their personal music collection to the cloud and stream or download it on demand.
  • Streaming catalog – Access to stream over 40 million songs licensed from major and indie record labels.
  • Intelligent curated playlists and radio stations based on user taste.
  • Ability to purchase tracks and albums.
  • Offline listening – Users could save songs, albums or playlists for offline playback when internet access was unavailable.

Google Play Music offered both a free ad-supported version and a paid subscription without ads. The subscription provided higher quality audio, offline listening, and YouTube Music integration (Reddit).

Musical Content on Google Play

Google Play Music provides users access to an extensive library of songs to stream or purchase. According to Wikipedia, with a paid Google Play Music subscription, users get access to stream over 40 million songs on demand and offline [1]. The library includes a diverse selection of music from major record labels and indie artists covering many genres.

In addition to streaming, Google Play Music offers users the ability to purchase songs and albums to own. While the size of the overall catalog for purchase is not published, reviews indicate it provides a robust offering comparable to other digital music stores. According to PCMag, Google Play Music contains a good mix of major and indie artists to choose from when purchasing music.[2]

Google Play vs. Dedicated Music Apps

When it comes to on-demand music streaming, Google Play Music competes directly with dedicated music apps like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. All of these services offer access to millions of songs for a monthly subscription fee. So how does Google Play Music compare on core music features?

In terms of library size, Google Play Music has around 40 million songs which is on par with Spotify and Apple Music. The catalog covers all major record labels as well as many independents. Genre variety is excellent for fans of pop, rock, rap, country and more. However, Spotify may have a slight edge when it comes to obscure, indie and international music.

Google Play Music and Spotify both offer personalized playlists like Discover Weekly that are updated regularly based on listening habits. This kind of music discovery is a key advantage over Apple Music. However, Spotify is widely regarded as having the best algorithmic recommendations due to its longer experience in this area.

When it comes to audio quality, Google Play Music streams at up to 320kbps which matches Spotify’s “very high” streaming tier. Lossless audio is not supported. So streaming quality is essentially identical between these two services. However, Spotify has historically had an edge in consistent sound quality across devices.

In summary, while Google Play Music holds its own on core music features, dedicated services like Spotify offer compelling advantages in discovery, quality, and platform experience that make them a better choice for most music listeners.

Play Music Desktop Manager

Google offers a desktop application called Play Music Manager that users can download to upload their local music files to Google Play Music. The Play Music Manager software is available for both Windows and Mac computers.

Play Music Manager provides an easy way for users to upload songs from their computer to Google Play Music’s cloud-based storage. Once uploaded, the songs become available to stream from any device through the Google Play Music app.

The software allows users to select specific songs, albums or entire folders of music to upload. It can also monitor designated folders for new music and automatically upload those files. Play Music Manager uploads music in the background while the user continues normal computer use.

In addition to uploading, Play Music Manager also allows users to download their Google Play Music library for offline listening. Downloaded songs are stored locally on the computer in a folder managed by Play Music Manager.

Overall, Play Music Desktop Manager provides a convenient way for Google Play Music subscribers to integrate their personal music collections with the streaming service. It allows users to consolidate their music libraries across devices into Google Play Music.

Availability of Google Play Music

Google Play Music is available in 63 countries around the world as of 2018, according to Google Support (1). The service first launched in November 2011 in the United States. It has since expanded to countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Mexico, among others.

The Google Play Music subscription service, called Google Play Music All Access or YouTube Music Premium, is available in fewer countries – around 28 as of 2018. Music Pass gives access to millions of songs for a monthly fee. It launched in the US in 2013 before expanding to Australia, New Zealand and parts of Europe.

Google Play Music is available on the web, Android, iOS, and via apps like YouTube Music. However, Music Pass subscription is limited based on your account country. If your country does not support Music Pass, you cannot subscribe even with a valid payment method (2).

Limitations of Google Play Music

Google Play Music had some key limitations and downsides as a music streaming service before it was discontinued in 2020:

Song upload limits – Users could only upload up to 50,000 of their own songs to Google Play Music according to Quora. This was a major restriction for people with large personal music libraries.

Limited platform availability – The Google Play Music app and service was only available on Android, the web, and through the Music Manager desktop app. There was no native iOS or desktop app.

Issues with uploaded content – Users frequently complained about problems with matching, uploading, and managing their uploaded songs in Google Play Music.

Limited sharing options – While you could share songs and playlists with other Google Play Music users, there was no easy way to publish playlists publicly or integrate with other social platforms.

No lossless audio – Google Play Music only offered compressed audio quality up to 320kbps, with no lossless CD-quality or high-resolution options.

The Future of Google Play Music

With the rise of streaming music services like Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music, Google Play Music faces an uncertain future. Google has not provided a clear vision for how it will develop Play Music going forward. Many speculate that Google may eventually phase out Play Music as a standalone service.

Some analysts believe Google Play Music will not be able to compete effectively with services that are dedicated solely to music streaming. Companies like Spotify have a huge head start in terms of music library size, user base, and brand recognition in the music space. It will be difficult for Google to gain significant market share at this point (cite:

There is a possibility that Google will eventually fold Play Music into YouTube Music, which could become Google’s flagship streaming service. However, the transition has been slow and Google has not provided a concrete timeline. For now, Play Music hangs in limbo as other services continue to dominate music streaming. Many loyal users are uncertain about the future of the service.


In summary, while Google Play started primarily as an app store for Android, it has evolved to include a music service as well. Through Google Play Music, users can access millions of songs to stream or download, create playlists, listen across devices, and more. However, it lacks some features found in dedicated music apps like Spotify and Apple Music. So while Google Play offers music access along with apps, games, movies, books, and more, it may not serve as a full replacement for apps focused solely on music. To answer the original question directly, Google Play is an app store first and foremost, but does also contain a music service component in the form of Google Play Music.

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