The team behind YouTube Music is reportedly working to expand and improve on the applications offline features with an expansion of the current "Offline Mixtape" tool internally referred to as “smart downloads.”
As that feature currently stands, users can get a quick mix of up to 100 songs. The new update to it will enable up to a 500 song playlist that's pulled from a user's favorite playlists and albums. The download portion of the feature will only take place at night and when the device is connected via Wi-Fi.
Presumably, those will be gathered automatically based on not just well-rated songs or albums but from those that are frequently listened to and YouTube Music will include an option for mobile data downloads too but the company hasn't said either way.
YouTube Music is still a thing?
YouTube Music was, when it launched back in 2015, an attempt by Google to start bringing all of its media content offerings under a single marketing banner -- namely, the strongly performing YouTube banner.
The "Offline Mixtape" has been in place for a significant portion of that timeframe. It effectively works by determining what music to download based on what the user has listened to and the songs that they have been rated highly. So it's a lot like other music offerings in that it's an offline curated list that's wholly separate from manual downloads.
The app has flown mostly under the radar over the past several months, with no major updates or changes to suggest the service is actually competing with Google's other offering, Google Play Music.
For instance, most recently, news broke that YouTube Music and Universal Music Group (UMG) would be teaming up to remaster approximately 1,000 videos for older tunes. The duo will be taking those from standard definition video quality to HD with the goal of finishing by the end of 2020.
When's this coming?
Although restoring or breathing new life into older official music-based videos is undoubtedly important for the industry, news that it plans to bring relatively big changes to the YouTube Music app is more substantial.
Google Play Music will automatically download songs as they're listened to and will hold onto those for a set period based on predetermined metrics. It does not actively download music based on the user's tastes in case they forget to or want to try something new while offline.
That arguably gives YouTube Music a further push ahead of its Google-branded counterpart, for those who want to use the feature and shows that the company is still heavily invested in the service.
Music apps are arguably better suited for the summer than other seasons and it would seem to make sense for the company to launch this soon rather than later. For now, YouTube Music hasn't let slip exactly when the new feature is expected to roll out or even a range of time for users to watch for “smart downloads" to appear.
The company may be waiting on an opportune time to launch with consideration for the competition or there may still be too many bugs to release just yet.