Google Play Music FAQ

Google Play Music FAQ

Want to know more about Google Play Music? The most frequently asked questions about Google Play Music.

What is Google Play?

Google Play is the service previously called the Android Market. It is Google's digital application distribution platform for Android devices and computers. Google Play allows users to browse and download music, magazines, books, movies, television programs, games and apps that were published through Google.

Apps are available either for free or at a cost, and they can be downloaded directly to an Android or Google TV device through the Play Store or onto a personal computer via its website. Google Play provides all kind of content ranging from colouring and drawing apps for children to gambling, betting, gaming and other adult apps.

In March 2012, the Android Market and Google Music were merged and renamed "Google Play".

What is Google Play Music? / Google Play All Access / Youtube Music Key

Google Play Music is Google's music service that forms part of their Google Play store. The service offers the purchasing of digital music in the form of either individual songs or full albums. Songs that are purchased via Google Play Music will automatically appear on all your Android devices. Google Play Music also offers a free "scan and match" service for up to 20 000 songs. This allows you to upload music on your computer onto Google's servers. Google Play Music will match any music it has in its library, and upload any music it doesn't have in its library. You are then able to access your music via the web on any computer or via any Android device. It is an excellent and free way to back up your music, and to have it available to stream via your Android device or any computer connected to the web. Google Play Music offers the option to make playlists or even an Instant Mix, made up of a random selection of your music.

Youtube Music Key is a video service to provide music videos in a similar fashion to Google Play Music, ad free. You get access to Youtube Music Key as part of Google Play All Access so not only listen to your favourite tracks but watch the video for them too.

Google Play All Access is the streaming Radio Service to rival Spotify. For a subscription fee users are be able to stream music from Google Play's vast collection.

What can I do with the Digital Music Store in Google Play?

There are many things that you can do in Google Play's Digital Music Store:

  • Buy music, either single songs or full albums.
  • Download free songs (there is usually a free song of the week).
  • Create an instant mix made up of the songs in your collection.
  • Create playlists.
  • Browse or purchase songs recommended for you by Google Play, based on your previous purchases and the music stored in your Google Music account.

Why did Google create Google Play Music?

Google created Google Play Music to stake a claim in the online streaming market, to compete with iTunes and Amazon MP3, as well as the various streaming services like Spotify, Pandora, Rdio and Deezer. Google wanted to provide its users with a service to upload their existing music libraries to Google’s servers and then access their music via the Web and on Android devices, as well as to provide an easy to use store to purchase digital music.

How does it compare to rival apps? Should I install it?

Google Play Music Manager is a simple and easy to use application and it is definitely worthwhile installing. It is a small application that doesn't use up a lot of your system's resources, unlike iTunes, which tends to hog system resources. The Google Play Music Manager works as an extension of the actual Google Play Music app, and together they offer a wide variety of functions from uploading your own music to creating playlists.

How much does it cost?

Using Google Play Music is free, and storing up to 20 000 songs in your own personal cloud is also completely free. In terms of purchasing songs and albums, individual songs are usually priced at 99p, and albums range from £3.49 to £11.99 for new releases. The average price of a new release album varies from £6.99 to £8.99.

Google Play Music All Access costs £9.99/month so you can listen to anything available on Google Play Music

How do I join?

If you do not already have a Google account, go to and create one for yourself. If you already have a Google or Gmail account, go to and log in. Select the Music tab from the list of sections, and start browsing through the music store.

How does it work?

Google Play Music is an online digital music store where you can purchase songs or albums, and this works in much the same way as the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3 The other component of Google Play Music is the function of uploading music that you already own to your own personal cloud. This is done via the Music Manager. Google will try to match the songs and albums that you have with the music it has on its servers, and where it does not currently have matching music, it will upload the songs and albums. There is a song limit of 20 000 tracks, and songs purchased in the Google Play Music store do not count towards this limit.

You are able to access and stream your music from any web-connected computer or Android device, and you can also download individual songs or entire albums, with a download limit of twice from the web. The songs are in 320kbs MP3 format when downloaded.

What are the prerequisites before I can use Google Play Music?

In order to use the Google Play Music Manager, you will need one of the following operating systems:

  • Mac OS X 10.5 and above
  • Windows XP and above
  • Linux (Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora/openSUSE)

To play your music via the Google Play Music web player, you will need:

  • Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer.
  • JavaScript must be enabled in your browser. In Google Chrome, this is already done by default).
  • An up to date version of Adobe Flash Player must be installed and enabled in your browser. In Google Chrome, this is already included.

To use the Google Play app on an Android device:

  • Your device must be running Android 2.2 or above with OpenGL ES 2.0*
  • To determine your version of Android, go to Settings, then About Phone / Tablet

Before you can start using Google Music, you will need to download the Google Music Manager app. You will also need to have a Google account, as well as setting up a Google wallet, even if you only want to download free songs.

*OpenGL ES 2.0 is a graphics application programming interface [API] used in embedded systems like mobile phones and game consoles.

Can I upload my own videos?

No. Google Play Movies allows you to rent or purchase movies, but not upload your own movies.

Is it available in all countries?

Google launched the Google Play Music download store in the US in November 2011 and has since rolled it out in five European countries. Google Play Music is currently available in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

Can I upload my own songs? How long does the upload take? How much bandwidth does it take up?

You can upload up to 20 000 songs. The upload time is entirely dependent on your internet connection speed. If you are uploading songs while you need to use the internet for other things, it would be a good idea to set the bandwidth allocation according to the speed of your internet connection.

What if all my music is not legal?

Google has opted to pay the music labels directly, in order to compensate for matching songs that may be pirated, so you can go ahead and upload whichever songs you want, without worrying about their origin. Google will try to match the songs and albums that you have with music that it has on its servers, and upload songs that it doesn't have.

I already use Apple iTunes, why should I bother with Google Play Music?

In terms of using Google Play Music to store your music in the cloud, it's a free service, compared to iTunes Match and Amazon Cloud Player Premium, which both cost £21.99 per year, to store 25 000 songs in iTunes Match and 250 000 songs in Amazon Cloud Player Premium. Even if you use iTunes Match or Amazon Cloud Player Premium, using Google Play Music as well will allow you to back up 20 000 of your songs for free.

Can I use Google Play Music and Apple iTunes together?

Yes. Once you have installed the Google Play Music Manager, you can point it to your iTunes library in order to upload your music to your personal cloud. If you only want to import certain songs contained in your iTunes playlists, there is an option to only upload the songs contained in these playlists.

What devices does Google Play Music work on? Can I use it on an iPhone, iPod or iPad?

Google Play Music will work on Android devices and in the browsers of computers connected to the internet. Please see Question 9 for exact details of which operating systems and platforms are supported.

You can use Google Play Music on an iPhone and use the official Google Play Music iOS App provided by the iTunes app store.

Are tracks and albums cheaper on Google Play Music than in the iTunes Store?

Tracks and albums are often cheaper on Google Play Music, compared to the iTunes Store, especially for albums. This is not always the case, but more often than not, the prices on Google Play Music are lower than the prices in the iTunes Store. They also compare favourably with Amazon charges.

Can Google Play Music be used with a Google Apps for Business account?

If you're using a Google Apps account, it's only possible to access the Google Play website if your account has been migrated to the new Google Apps infrastructure.

If your account has not yet been migrated, contact your Google Apps domain administrator for assistance.

How many devices can I download my songs and albums to?

You may download your music library to ten devices. When downloading songs or albums from Google Play Music on the web, you are limited to only downloading songs twice. However, when you use the Music Manager to download your songs, there is no limit on the amount of times you may download your music.

What's the difference between streaming and downloading in Google Play Music?

Streaming in Google Play Music is when you are playing your music via a web browser or an Android device, and this is using an active internet connection. Downloading in Google Play Music refers to the action of physically downloading either individual songs or entire albums from Google Play Music onto your computer or Android device. These songs could either be music that you purchased in Google Play Music's store, or music that you previously owned already and uploaded to Google Play Music via the Music Manager.

Does Google Play Music work on all platforms like Mac OS, Windows and Ubuntu?

Yes, it does. You can access Google Play Music via a browser on any computer connected to the internet and running Windows XP and above, Mac OS X 10.5 and above, and all the variations of Linux operating systems like Ubuntu. The Google Play Music Manager is also available to download and install for all the operating systems mentioned above.

Can I use Google Play Music on a Chromebook?

Yes, you can. You can access Google Play Music by going to the Apps icon in the task bar. If you haven't yet uploaded your own music to Google Play Music, the first step would be to download and install the Google Play Music Manager onto the computer that contains your locally stored music and use it to upload all the music that you would like to be able to access on your Chromebook. Once this process has been completed, go back to your Chromebook and open up the Google Play Music app. Your music will be available to stream, or download should you want to.

Can I use Google Play Music on my Smartphone?

Yes by subscribing to Google Play Music All Access you can gain ad-free access to millions of tracks from Google’s library there is a monthly fee for this service which varies from country to country.

Can I still access my music without an internet connection?

Yes you can listen to music while you are without an internet connection.

  1. Open up the Google Play Music Application
  2. Select a song album or artist
  3. Select the grey pin in Android or the Orange Arrow in iOS to start downloading the song(s) that you want to listen to offline.

This is not available on the desktop browser version of Google Play Music.

Sometimes I hear a song on the radio I really like is there a Way I can use my phone / tablet to recognise and download a copy from the Play Store?

Yes you can use Google Sound Search which allows your device to listen to the music around you after a few seconds the track and link will be displayed on your phone to purchase the track from the play store. (This is similar to other products like like Shazam and Soundhound.)