I wanted Google Music to be my destination for music. I really did.
Due to lack of a solid desktop app, a crappy Android app, and general “meh”-ness, I am leaving Google Music and returning to Spotify.
Some background: I’ve been a Spotify user since it became available in the United States, and I have been generally happy. Previous to Spotify, I was a Rhapsody user. Obviously, I am the type of user who wants the all-access type of subscription. So, when I heard about Google Music’s new offering, I thought “This could be it!” Add in the potentially wonderful integration with my current Android phone, and it all added up to me signing up for the free preview of Google Music All-Access. With my ancient Sprint Samsung Epic 4G (SPH-D700), I was ready to conquer the world of music with my friend Google.
While I tend to have my Chrome windows open at all times, requiring me to have one open in order to play music on my desktop is a serious misstep. I know that Google wants everyone to live in the internet browser world, but that’s just not my personal computing experience. I don’t want to shut my music off when I close all my browser tabs. Don’t get me wrong, Google Music’s web interface is wonderful. It’s responsive and pretty. But I just don’t want to live in the web in order to listen to music. Without a standalone desktop application (cross-OS, preferably), I just won’t use Google Music as much. +1 to Spotify, even if its desktop app is a hog and a bit crazy.
I figured Google Music on Android would be a seamless experience. At first glance, the interface on the app was everything I wanted it to be. I am in love with the cards that Google has been using in their interfaces. The browsing was intuitive and simple. It synced from the cloud almost immediately. However, doing the simplest actions just crapped out for me. Skipping a song gave me a solid 5+ seconds of silence before the next one played. This was for both streaming music and music that I had downloaded onto the device. If I tried to stop music, it would continue playing for ~10 seconds until it stopped. Of course, it buffered the button presses, so if I got impatient and tried to hit the stop button again, it would think I was hitting “play.” In general, doing the simplest of actions that a music application should be able to do (play, stop, pause, next, previous) were just an abject failure and directly contributed to me hating the application. However, I did appreciate that the application stored downloaded song data onto the SD card, as opposed to the Spotify app storing it in the device cache.
Thirdly, Google Music just doesn’t change anything for me. I would be willing to look past most of the pain points listed above if it did something remarkable. If the music discovery piece changed my life and gave me something wonderful to listen to, I would seriously consider staying with Google. The one piece that makes me not want to leave is the power of the Google Music Radio. Spotify has its own radio functionality, but it really seems like I am listening to the same songs over and over again. Google Music Radio is seriously powerful, and gives me music that I am sure to enjoy. I wish it would let me make a radio station for an entire playlist, a la Spotify, but it’s not terrible. This isn’t enough to make me stay with Google, however.
All in all, the items listed above all contribute to my unhappiness with Google Music. I have officially uninstalled the Play Music app on my phone, unsubscribed from the All-Access pass, and have begun reinstalling Spotify on everything.