YouTube Music is finally available for Android TV but it may not be what users expected or hoped for. That’s because Google has effectively snuck the app into the standard YouTube app as a server-side update. That’s good news for those who were waiting for it. All that’s required is an update to YouTube for Android TV. But, as reported by Android Police, the integration is not necessarily clean or user-friendly.
What are the problems of YouTube Music integration for Android TV?
The biggest caveat, of course, is that the integration leaves a long list of features that are missing from the primary YouTube Music app. But there’s also a problem with the fact that it isn’t a standalone app. Instead, YouTube Music is just a “Music” tab in the YouTube app. That even has the former app’s logo. That means that users can’t exit the app and continue playback, as they can with a premium subscription to the YouTube Music app for mobile.
It also means that none of the playlist management features are available at all. Users can’t even create new playlists or add songs to a playlist. And selecting a playlist that’s already been created for playback doesn’t show everything in the playlist. It only shows the currently-playing song and upcoming tracks are laid out below. Trying to add songs only offers options from the associated YouTube account, not YouTube Music.
The UI is almost identical to that used for upcoming videos in a playlist. There’s no way to reorganize or remove titles.
Similarly, there’s no way to shuffle or repeat songs. No toggle is present for toggling off videos. And users aren’t given access to all of their songs either. That includes uploaded music or libraries.
Lastly, lyrics don’t show and can’t be played back by users on Android TV.
So what exactly does this offer users?
Now, it’s not all bad news for YouTube Music subscribers here. Google may plan to roll out a wide-spanning update to bring all of the missing features over. Or it could plan to release a full YouTube Music app. This current iteration could simply serve as a way for users to listen at least in the meantime. And there are plenty of features that YouTube Music users will appreciate too.
For starters, the page is organized into categories. That includes playlists from users that are subscribed to, an algorithmically created set of playlists — including music the user has “liked” — and mood- or genre-based stations. Playlists that were already made on the dedicated app elsewhere. And stations based on artists.
There’s also the fact that YouTube-integrated Music starts playback instantly, without the need to select tracks first. Users just need to highlight a selection and playback starts.