On Monday, the ability to play local audio files on your device was spotted in YouTube Music for Android. YouTube Music local playback — an important step towards replacing Play Music — is now more widely rolling out today.
When live, the app will prompt users in the Library tab to “Allow YouTube Music to access and play music files.” Alternately, visiting Settings > Downloads will reveal a new “Show device files” toggle when this feature is rolled out to you.
We were prompted automatically today on a device running the latest version (3.13), but YouTube Music local playback is appearing as far back as version 3.09 in settings.
After granting permission, Playlists, Albums, Songs, and Artists will gain a new “Device files” tab to accompany “YT Music.” Those four pages conveniently remember and remain on the last tab you were viewing. The initial launch is accompanied by the following reminder:
These songs can be played on their own, but they can’t be added to queues or playlists with songs from YouTube Music. They also can’t be cast to another device.
That said, uses can create queues and playlists of only local songs. The Playlists tab features a “New playlist” button.
The Now Playing screen differs from the regular one with the removal of like/unlike buttons and the Info screen to jump to album or artists. Additionally, the Cast button still appears in the upper-right corner even though clicking notes how “you can’t cast device files.”
Otherwise, artwork and other metadata appear, with “Up next” at the bottom of the screen. The background of this screen, along with app notifications, are still themed to cover art. Repeat and shuffle controls are also available. Most audio files, including those in Downloads, will be surfaced by YouTube Music.
YouTube Music local playback has been in development for several versions over the past few months. It is a key step towards YouTube Music replacing Play Music as the default audio client on Android. The OS will always need an app that can handle local playback, with YouTube Music in the future likely becoming the one that gets preloaded on phones and tablets.