Where did my Google music downloads go?

In 2020, Google announced that it would be shutting down its Google Play Music service by the end of the year. This service allowed users to purchase, download, and stream music. With the shutdown of Google Play Music, users have found that the music downloads they purchased through the service are no longer accessible.

According to a Consumer Reports article, “With Google Play Music shutting down, Consumer Reports shows you how to transfer your files, playlists, and other data to YouTube Music app” (source). The shutdown has left many users wondering what happened to the music libraries they had purchased and downloaded over the years using Google Play Music.

Google Play Music Shutdown

Google Play Music started shutting down in September 2020, beginning in New Zealand and South Africa. By October 2020, the music streaming service had shut down globally (Wikipedia). Google announced that Play Music would be completely replaced by YouTube Music, with plans to transition users and their libraries over to the new service.

According to The Verge, Google shared a detailed timeline for the shutdown of Play Music in August 2020, stating that access would begin being revoked in September for certain regions (The Verge). By October 12, 2020, Google had completed the worldwide shutdown of the Play Music store (9to5Google).

Download Location

Downloaded Google Play Music files were saved to the Downloads folder on your device by default. The Downloads folder is usually located in your device’s internal storage. For example, on Android it may be found at /sdcard/Downloads or /storage/emulated/0/Download.

You could also change the default download location for Google Play Music in the app’s settings. Some users reported changing it to download to an SD card or external storage [1]. So your downloaded Google Play Music files may be in a custom location if you had changed the setting.

On iOS devices, the Google Play Music downloads were likely saved to the On My iPhone section under Files [2]. But the default Downloads folder location depends on your version of iOS.

Check internal storage, external SD cards, and any custom folders you may have chosen for Google Play Music downloads. This is where your files originally downloaded from Google Play Music should be located.

Find Downloads Folder

To locate where your Google Play Music downloads are stored, you’ll need to access the file directory on your device. On Android, downloads from Google Play Music are stored in an obscure folder location:


This folder is not easily accessible through the standard Files app on Android. You will need a file explorer app capable of browsing system directories, like ES File Explorer, to locate it. Be careful not to delete or modify other app folders during this process.

On iPhone or iOS, downloaded Google Play Music files are saved to the regular Downloads folder accessible through the Files app. They will be stored in the Music section alongside other audio files.

You can also connect your Android or iOS device to a computer to browse the file system. This will allow you to locate the Google Play Music downloads folder and copy the audio files off the device.

Transfer to New Service

There are a few different options to transfer your Google Play music downloads to a new service like YouTube Music or Spotify:

For YouTube Music, you can use the built-in transfer tool to move your entire Google Play library including playlists, uploads, purchases, likes, and more. This will transfer Play Music downloads directly into your YouTube Music library.

For other services like Spotify, you’ll need to manually download the MP3 files from Google Play Music and then upload them to the new service. Spotify has a desktop app that allows you to upload your own MP3 files to your library.

You can also use third-party apps like SongShift to transfer playlists between different music services, but this will only transfer playlist details, not the actual audio files.

Overall, YouTube Music provides the simplest option for transferring your full Google Play Music download library. For other services, downloading the MP3 files first is required.

Download MP3 Files

With the shutdown of Google Play Music at the end of 2020, users lost the ability to stream their purchased and uploaded music libraries. However, Google does allow users to download their music library as MP3 files before the service shuts down.

To download your purchased and uploaded music library from Google Play Music, follow these steps:

  1. Go to play.google.com/music and sign into your account.
  2. Click on the menu icon in the top left corner and select “Settings”.
  3. Under “Library”, click on “Download Music.” This will download your purchased and uploaded songs as MP3 files.
  4. Select whether you want high or low quality MP3s. High quality will result in larger file sizes.
  5. Click “Download” to start the download process.

The downloaded MP3 files will be saved in a folder called “Google Play Music” on your computer. You can then transfer these files to another music app or service.

It’s important to download your music library before Google Play Music shuts down, as you will lose access to your purchased and uploaded content after that date. Downloading as MP3s allows you to keep your music library after the shutdown.

Re-download Purchased Music

If you missed the opportunity to download your purchased music library before Google Play Music shut down, you still have some options to re-download your purchases:

You can view your Google Play Music purchase history to see all the music you bought. Unfortunately, there is no direct way to re-download purchases from this page.

According to Reddit users, you may be able to download past Google Play Music purchases by accessing your library through the now defunct Google Play Music web player. However, this player could stop working at any time.

Using Google Takeout is the most reliable way to re-download your purchased music library. You can select Google Play Music purchases in Takeout to download an archive of all your songs. The files will be in .mp3 format so you can upload them to another service like YouTube Music.

While re-downloading purchases is still possible, it’s best to do so sooner rather than later before options become more limited. Going forward, don’t rely solely on cloud music lockers to store your purchased music collection.

Delete Downloads

After the shutdown of Google Play Music in December 2020, Google began automatically deleting unused music downloads from users’ accounts [1]. This was done to save storage space on Google’s servers, as the downloaded files were no longer accessible through the defunct Play Music service.

Specifically, music downloads that were not transferred over to YouTube Music prior to the shutdown were permanently deleted. This means that any Play Music library songs, albums, or playlists that remained untouched in the app after December 2020 were wiped from Google’s servers.

Unfortunately, this means that former Play Music users can no longer recover or redownload that music directly from Google. The only way to get those songs back is if users had downloaded the files to a local device or backed them up through Google Takeout prior to the shutdown [2].

So in summary, unused Google Play Music downloads were automatically deleted by Google to clear up storage space after the service’s shutdown. Users can only recover downloads if they had proactively saved them locally or exported them before December 2020.


With Google Play Music shutting down, many users are looking for alternatives to transfer their music libraries and playlists. Some popular alternatives include YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Deezer.

YouTube Music is Google’s official music service to replace Play Music. It allows you to upload your personal music collection like Play Music. YouTube Music also includes YouTube’s catalog of songs and videos. The interface and playlists are similar to Play Music.

Spotify and Apple Music are two of the most widely used paid music streaming services. They offer large libraries of songs to stream, custom playlists, and some storage for personal music. These services do not directly transfer Play Music libraries, requiring manual uploads.

For those with large personal music collections, Amazon Music and Deezer allow uploading up to 250,000 songs for streaming. Amazon Music also provides access to a catalog of 60 million songs. These options most closely mimic Play Music’s features.


In summary, when Google Play Music shut down in 2020, any music you purchased or uploaded was still available to download as MP3 files. To access your music downloads, find the Google Play Music folder on your computer, which is usually located in the Downloads or Music folder. From there, you can transfer downloads to another music service, re-download any purchased music, or delete files you no longer need.

To keep full access to your music library going forward, it’s recommended to transfer downloads to another service like YouTube Music. You can also download purchased music again if needed. While Google Play Music is gone, you still have options to retrieve your music library and move it to a new home.

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