Introducing YouTube Music to Android TV comes as no surprise. While it has been in talks for a while, Google has decided in killing off its Google Play Music in 2020. And honestly, this comes as no surprise. Way back in 2018, Google had taken a strategic decision to focus its marketing efforts more on YouTube Music rather than Google Play. The rationale behind such a decision was a sound one too, after all billions of viewers come to YouTube daily to listen to songs. So, having the wider reach, YouTube fans would then also be more willing to shell out some fees for a YouTube branded subscription.
However, even at the present YouTube Music is yet to catch up with the likes of Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music. For comparison’s sake, Spotify is the number 1 music service provider with a whopping 113 million paying subscribers approximately; the number for Apple Music is close to 60 million and about 55 million for Amazon Music. Meanwhile, Google and YouTube Music have an unremarkable sum of 20 million paying subscribers evenly spread among the two. This should give you an idea of the need to merge and refocus its goals and strategies.
For the uninitiated, YouTube Music offers a free ad supported version or ad free at $9.99 or $11.99 when coupled with the ad free YouTube website version. The transition from Google Play Music to YouTube Music isn’t a worrisome affair for the users of the former service though. Google Play users need only download the YouTube Music app and transfer their songs and libraries through the in-built transfer option.
While the slow transition to YouTube Music has had its fair share of problems, it seems to be in full gear. The earlier lack of Android TV support has also been addressed, albeit the addition has its separate set of problems that renders it a tad bit lackluster.
While the server side update has been rolling out for some days now, there has been some noticeable changes. For instance, the sidebar icons have been redone to some extent. One major concern among users is that while Google Music is being shut down, its YouTube counterpart has been introduced into the Android TV through the main YouTube app rather than one dedicated for the purpose. Many users are disappointed with the user interface and the lack of functionality as well.
The YouTube app on Android TV now has a music tab with YouTube Music’s logo and offers recommendations taken from both.
The YouTube recommendations include:
- Music You Like
- Music for You
- Genre and Mood Stations for You
- Your Music Playlists
- Artists Stations for You
- Recommended Playlists
The integration also causes some inconveniences for the listeners and hampers the experience.
- No Background Functionality? Check!
- No Automated Shuffle or Repeat? Check! Have to do it manually.
- No Audio/ Video Toggle? Check! Can’t switch between the 2, say goodbye to your data!
- Managing Playlists? Nah. Users can’t see the contents of playlists, or add new songs while playing a new track or even remove or reorder tracks.
- No Full Library Access
- Say No to Your Google Play Albums! Users are unable to access the songs and albums transferred over from Google Play. That’s a big hassle!
- No Synchronized Lyrics. While this is there on the Android app, Android TV hasn’t gotten the same love.
While there’s a lot of shortcomings, the only feature that seems to be positive is automatic instant playback whenever a mix, artist or playlist is highlighted, although that can be negative too depending on the situation.
So, have you made use of the Android TV integration? What do you think about this integration with YouTube TV App, let us know through comment section.