Google-owned YouTube recently got a total revamp of its YouTube Music app to more closely match and better improve upon the functionality of Google Play Music, but according to YouTube product head T Jay Fowler, the two apps aren’t quite ready to converge just yet. Fowler says that the newer app still has a good number of key features it needs to have ported over from Google Play Music before it’s ready to serve fully as a replacement. This will also give users time top prepare before being forced to make the jump between the two.
For starters, one of the most important features of Google Play Music is the ability to upload your own music and have it waiting for you in the cloud, freeing users to no longer have to manage and sync their collection on each device they own. User profiles and curation also have to make their way over. All of this will take time to develop and implement. It is also worth noting that YouTube Music is missing one important feature for those who don’t subscribe to YouTube Red: the ability to turn off the screen and have music continue playing. The massive screens on modern mobile devices are, for the most part, what drains their batteries more than anything else, and there are many who use Google Play Music as a way to stream music without having to have their screen on, sucking up battery and taking in unwanted touches, possibly firing up other apps or doing other unintended things. Fowler did not mention that detail, though it’s likely that Google will add in some concession to non-subscribers before taking Google Play Music off the air for good.
YouTube Music has been a bit of a black sheep since its release, essentially providing a front end with a bit of enhanced music functionality for YouTube. Many, of course, chose to simply stick with the default YouTube app when they wanted music that wasn’t in their personal collection or available on Google Play Music, such as covers and fan songs by YouTube singers, or international music that was out of reach of Google Play Music’s catalog. This convergence, which began in earnest earlier this year and is just now coming to fruition, seeks to give YouTube Music a purpose and eliminate Google Play Music altogether, rendering it redundant.