What happened to the music app on Android?

Android originally came with a built-in music player app simply called “Music” starting in 2008. This app allowed users to play local music files stored on their devices as well as music from the cloud after Google Play Music launched in 2011. The Music app provided basic playback features like playlists, shuffle, and equalizer presets. For many early Android users, Music was their primary way to listen to songs on their phones.

Removal from Android

The music app was removed from Android starting with Android 10 in 2019. According to an article on AndroidPolice, Google wanted to consolidate its music services into the YouTube Music app (https://www.androidpolice.com/2020/12/03/google-play-music-is-now-officially-dead-dead-dead/). The idea was to transition Google Play Music users over to YouTube Music instead of supporting two separate apps. Android 10 was the beginning of this transition by removing the stock music player app.

By December 2020, Google Play Music was completely shut down for all users according to the AndroidPolice article. Users had to migrate their libraries and preferences over to YouTube Music before that date. After years of supporting Google Play Music alongside YouTube Music, Google decided to focus efforts on one consolidated music app.


When Google shut down Google Play Music in late 2020, it left many Android users without a built-in music player app. Google Play Music had offered streaming music, radio, and the ability to upload and play your own music library (The Best Android Music Apps for 2024). Its removal created a void that many replacements have tried to fill.

The most direct Google Play Music replacement is YouTube Music, which Google launched as the successor. YouTube Music provides similar streaming and music locker features, with the addition of YouTube’s massive catalog of music videos and remixes. However, some users find the interface confusing compared to Google Play Music.

Other top options Android users have adopted include Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Music, Tidal and Pandora. These apps offer robust music streaming catalogs, both free and paid options, and some provide storage for personal music libraries. Features like playlists, radio stations, song recommendations, and downloadable music for offline listening are now common across most music apps.

For playing local music files, gone are the days of a simple built-in music player. But apps like MediaMonkey, jetAudio and Musicolet provide advanced local playback and library management. And Plexamp builds on the Plex media platform to combine streaming and personal libraries.

While there is no single perfect replacement, Android users now enjoy more choice than ever for music apps. Streaming services continue to improve and add new features to attract listeners. The loss of Google Play Music disrupted many users’ habits but also spurred innovation across the music app ecosystem.

User Reaction

Many Android users were frustrated and disappointed by the removal of the built-in music player app in Android 10 and higher versions (1). Posts on Reddit and forums like Malwarebytes show users complaining about the change and missing features from the old music app like playlists, equalizers, and robust music management (2). Some felt it was a downgrade to remove a core app and have to rely on third-party options (3). However, other users didn’t mind since they already used streaming apps like Spotify or YouTube Music for their music playback.

There was particular annoyance over Android still showing persistent media notifications even after removing the music app. Users found these notifications useless and wanted better control over removing them (1). Overall the reaction was mixed, with some seeing it as an inconvenience but others unaffected since they did not rely on the stock music player.

Benefits of switching music platforms for Android

By removing the default music player app on Android devices, users can experience several benefits when switching to alternate music platforms. According to an article on Quora, deleting unused apps can improve performance by freeing up device storage and RAM (source). With lightweight music apps available from Google Play Store and other sources, switching allows users to choose a music platform optimized for their needs.

Additionally, exploring new music apps exposes users to different features and interfaces for organizing, playing, and discovering music. Leaving the default music player encourages users to try new apps and determine which they prefer. As noted by USA Today, deleting unused apps helps declutter your device (source). Overall, switching music platforms on Android provides an opportunity to find a better optimized, less cluttered experience.

Drawbacks of Removing the Stock Music Player

Many users complained when Samsung removed the stock music player app from its Android devices. While Google Play Music became the default, some users preferred the Samsung music app for its simplicity and light footprint.

According to users on Reddit, the Samsung music player used less RAM and storage space compared to Google Play Music. It provided a minimalist interface to play local music files without extra features some users felt were bloatware. As one user said, “I don’t need complex playlists and streaming when I just want to listen to a couple albums.”1

Another drawback was losing Samsung-specific enhancements like lock screen and notification controls, EQ settings, and home screen widgets. Users lost some customization options and missed the app’s integration with Samsung’s ecosystem.

While Google Play Music works well, some felt the stock player was good enough and didn’t need replacing. Removing user choice and flexibility was frustrating for those preferring the simplicity of Samsung’s stripped-down music app.


Many Android users were frustrated when the native music player was removed and looked for ways to restore the old functionality. Some methods users employed to get the previous music app back on their devices included:

Downloading and installing older APK versions of the music player app. This allowed reverting to a previous version before the music app was removed (source).

Using package disabler apps to disable the new music app and re-enable the old one. This brought back the old music interface for some users (source).

Factory resetting their device to uninstall updates and restore the original music player. However, this also removed all other data and customization (source).

Overall, while cumbersome, these methods allowed loyal fans of the old music app to keep using it even after Google removed it from Android.

Google Play Music

Google Play Music was Google’s main music streaming service before it was discontinued in 2020 (Google Play Music, n.d). It allowed users to upload up to 50,000 songs to the cloud, stream millions of tracks, and purchase music from the Google Play store. Play Music offered radio stations based on songs, albums, artists and playlists. It also had smart recommendations personalized for each user.

After the shutdown of Play Music, YouTube Music became Google’s new premium music streaming option (YouTube Music – Apps on Google Play, n.d.). YouTube Music aims to combine the best of Google Play Music with the catalog and expertise of YouTube. It provides official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos. The service costs $9.99 a month after a 1-month free trial.

Other Options

With the removal of Google Play Music, Android users have had to find alternative music apps. Some popular options include:

Spotify – This streaming service allows users to listen to millions of songs for free with ads or subscribe to Spotify Premium for ad-free listening. Spotify has a large music library and playlists curated for different genres and moods (1).

YouTube Music – Google’s official music app for Android replaces Google Play Music. It offers both free, ad-supported streaming and YouTube Music Premium. The app includes official songs, albums, playlists and more (2).

Amazon Music – Amazon’s music app comes free for Amazon Prime members. Users can also subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited for access to over 75 million songs ad-free. The app allows downloading music for offline listening (1).

Pandora – This internet radio app creates custom stations based on artists, songs or genres. The free version plays ads while Pandora Premium offers ad-free listening, offline downloads and unlimited skips/replays for a monthly fee (2).

There are many additional music apps on the Google Play Store that Android users can choose from to replace Google Play Music, whether they want free streaming, downloads, internet radio or other features.

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The Future

Looking ahead, many speculate that Android will continue to evolve its music strategy and capabilities in exciting new directions. With Google’s investments in AI like DeepMind, some predict AI-generated and interactive music experiences may come to future versions of Android. As noted in an article from DeepMind, “Generative music technologies could transform the future of music creation and use. Our cutting-edge work in this space will unlock an exciting future of musical creativity.” https://deepmind.google/discover/blog/transforming-the-future-of-music-creation/

There are also predictions that Android may tap into lossless and spatial audio for more immersive music playback. As one tech blog suggests, “Lossless USB audio in Android phones is set to revolutionize how we experience audio on mobile devices. From offering high-quality music reproduction to spatial and 3D effects, the possibilities are endless.” https://techyji.in/unlock-the-future-of-mobile-audio-with-androids-lossless-usb/

With Android’s commitment to innovation, users on forums like Reddit anticipate that Android will continue pushing the boundaries of mobile music technology for years to come. The next few Android versions may focus on Google’s AI assistant and services, but many look forward to seeing how Android music evolves by 2025 and beyond.

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