Google Music vs. Apple Music

There’s been so much hype about Apple Music lately, so I just had to make a post like this.

Disclaimer: I use Macbook Air with OSX and Nexus 6 with Android. So I can’t fully test iOS apps and there’s still no Apple Music client for Android. Mostly I’m talking about features of both platforms, how are they similar and different.

TL;DR

Google Music = Apple Music + iTunes Match.

How are they similar

  • Both Apple and Google use almost the same music library they get from big labels.
  • Pricing is almost the same.
  • Both offer an interesting choice of smart radio stations.
  • With iTunes Match (sold separately) and GM you can upload your own music library to the cloud.
  • You can download any time all your purchased and uploaded music.
  • You can cache any available music to the device to listen offline.
  • Some music is available only to buy, not to stream (like the Beatles).

Apple Music

Good

  • Social and exclusive content from artists!
  • Longer trial period.
  • Family access plan!
  • Probably better iOS app
  • It’s Apple!

Bad

  • iTunes.
  • iTunes Match is sold separately.
  • Worse prediction of your tastes and worse recommendations.
  • Bad support for other platforms.

Google Music

Good

  • Free radio! (US accounts)
  • Free upload of 50k songs. (similar to iTunes Match)
  • Web browser version.
  • YouTube music videos without ads.
  • YouTube with background playback and offline playback.
  • Awesome recommendations based on your search and YouTube history and everything else Google knows about you.

Bad

  • Try iOS client for yourself, I don’t know how good it is.
  • No Family access plan.

My Story

I had a really big collection of music 1-2 Tb I think. And it’s always been a great challenge to organize it. So there were dozens of “!!!New” folders and a questionable sorting by genres. I tried different programs like MusicBrainz to put tags on the tracks, but it didn’t work good enough. And the second biggest problem were playlists manually organized just with a folder structure, but hell with them.

When I just moved to OSX and Macbook Air I thought: This is the day I get my shit together. Never was I so wrong…

I tried uploading music into iTunes library and correcting the tags, and even managed to get some results. But when I tried to use external hard drive with about 500 Gb of music — iTunes just failed to cope with it. I’ve never was more disappointed in a piece of software than in iTunes. And now I use VOX for offline music.

I watched as Google Music grow since it was in beta. At first there was only 25k of your own music upload and no Spotify-like streaming of other than your own content. 25k was too small for me, so I just watched and waited.

Magic happened when they finally added streaming and all this Spotify-like functionality. It solved almost all my problems in 2 steps:

  1. Upload ONLY rare and unavailable music.
  2. Use streaming and add to library all the rest the moment you need it!

So I became a happy customer ever since.

And last year they added another 2 awesome features:

So now I use Google Music with US account to get most of the features and love it!

Pro tips

  • You can automatically cache for offline playback ANY playlist on your device. For example I’ve got all my liked/favorite songs cached. So when I press thumbs up button anywhere the song gets uploaded to my phone.
  • To get a US account just add a plastic card with US billing account. Go into incognito mode. Use TunnelBear or Hola for US IP address. Buy a subscription like you are a US user.