Before getting started, on what I’m sure will come across as a very ranty post, I think it’s important to point out that I have no problems with the content or pricing structure of Google Play Music (GPM). The music library is quite good and the price is extremely competitive, especially with the Family Plan. That said as someone who uses the service almost every single day I’ve collected quite a list of annoyances that I feel I must write about (for no other reason than it’s cathartic to get it all out 🙂 )
1,000 song limit on playlists
This is by far my biggest issue with GPM because it makes it nearly impossible to use the service in the way I want. After searching online it seems that this is an old problem for GPM users and one that seems to illicit the same three responses every single time it is brought up:
“But there’s no way you can listen to more than a thousand songs!”
“Do you even KNOW how LONG a thousand song playlist is?”
“Why would you need that?”
Not true and very long are the answers to those first two by the way… and dismissing someone’s complaint simply because you can’t think of a use for it isn’t a legitimate answer to the third. There is clearly demand for this feature and even GPM’s own competitors have already implemented larger playlists with Spotify, for example, allowing for up to 10,000 songs in a single playlist. For me personally the reason I want this limitation removed is simple: I would like to use the Thumbs up auto-playlist as a giant list of all of the songs I’ve… err… thumbs’d up. Currently it will only show me the last 1,000 songs which makes it quite useless unless I only want to shuffle the most recent songs I’ve listened to.
Can’t find a full list of songs you’ve listened to
Which takes me to my next point… remember listening to an awesome album a few months back but can’t remember the name of the artist, album or songs on it? Well sucks to be you because GPM won’t make it easy to find either. Even though GPM does support a Recent Activity list it hardly goes back far enough to allow you to find things that you’ve listened to that far in the past. There also doesn’t seem to be any way to actually find a full list of songs you’ve listened to or even thumbs’d up over time (see above). This is even more frustrating when you realize that somewhere they must have this information otherwise the I’m feeling lucky radio and other suggested playlists simply wouldn’t work…
No Auto-playlist creation support
Speaking of song lists why can’t I create my own auto-playlists? Obviously I’m not expecting GPM to allow me to create a playlist of every song in its library that has the word “the” in the title or something silly but surely it could allow me to create auto-playlists of things in my library or something similar to that. This is an incredibly useful feature and one that even iTunes, not really known to be the hallmark of music players, has had since almost the dawn of time.
What the %&$# GPM? Why can’t I choose to block censored music?
So GPM has this… handy?… feature where you can opt to block all explicit music. That’s all fine and dandy but why is there not an equivalent option for blocking censored versions of songs? This is made even worse when GPM doesn’t clearly identify which album is the original and which is the censored one. I don’t want to have to guess between two otherwise identical looking albums only to find out that I guessed wrong and accidentally chose the one where all of the songs are censored.
That’s a great recommended album you’ve got there
It’s almost comical at this point but for whatever reason as soon as I finish listening to an album I will have GPM recommending that I listen to the very same album the next day I log in. Recommended of course “because you’ve listened this artist”… you don’t say…
Recommends completely wrong artists
I should point out that this has only actually happened to me once but I feel as though it is still worth mentioning because of how completely wrong GPM’s suggestion algorithm was. I had just finished listening to an old album by former NWA member The D.O.C. when GPM decided that I should listen to a brand new release by the same artist! The problem? It wasn’t the same artist at all… not even close. GPM had accidentally mistaken rapper The D.O.C. with death metal band Descendants of Cain…
iOS app is extremely lacking
The iOS GPM app suffers from it’s own slew of problems. First off it is still impossible to actually manage my Family Plan settings from iOS. Secondly there are a number of missing features, like podcast support, when compared to the web or Android versions. Finally it is extremely buggy and crashes often. There isn’t a day that goes by where the interface doesn’t completely lock up and freeze on me for upwards of 30 seconds before momentarily recovering. The suggested “fix” for the instability is to reset the cache but that means you have to re-download any of the music you want to keep for listening offline. Overall it is just a mess.
Look, in general I really like GPM but it’s clearly not without it’s faults. I also don’t think that any of the things I’ve listed above should be impossible to fix either and I’m hoping Google does get around to addressing them sooner rather than later. For now I guess they’re just things I’ll have to deal with.