Since YouTube Music was announced last week and as the revamped streaming offering began rolling out yesterday, Google has ardently reiterated that “nothing will change” with Play Music. That is true in the short-term, but the company is planning to eventually phase out the previous service when feature parity is reached.
Speaking to The Verge, Google confirmed that all of Play Music’s “key features” are coming to YouTube Music. The most significant one that will remain is the ability to upload audio files directly to YouTube Music.
This was a particular worry given how cloud locker functionality is now only available on Google’s service and Apple’s iTunes Match after Amazon Prime Music deprecated similar functionality. Last week, Music head at YouTube T. Jay Fowler noted user’s “collection, playlists and preferences will be preserved.”
At the time, it was unclear whether that was in reference to just songs and albums on Play Music that users saved to their libraries or ones directly uploaded. The upload functionality is coming with future updates to the YouTube streaming service.
There are many reasons for why users would want to upload their own files, including having versions that are not available in a streaming library or simply preferring to own music. Meanwhile, that latter ability of purchasing songs — presumably from Google Play — is also coming to YouTube Music, according to The Verge today.
Other functionality that the YouTube Music Android app currently lacks is the ability to play on-device audio files. Presumably, that will be a “key feature” that is coming as without Play Music in the future Android devices would have no basic way to play files transferred from a computer.
While Android might have a basic built-in audio player, features like adding songs to a playlist and other controls might be lacking. Integrating into YouTube Music is also a better solution than maintaining another app solely for this task.
In terms of when all these features will be available, today’s report notes that “Google’s current goal” is to move Play Music users to YouTube Music in 2019. With only the year noted, that date might be pushed back as, apparently, the “company is in no hurry.” Given that internal timeline and likely to focus on features to attract new users, Google’s repeated reiteration of how Play Music is sticking around for the time being makes sense.