Google Music is a bit Awkward

This is a little addition to my post about building a Heart of Rock and Soul playlist on Google Music.

I’m surprisingly unbothered that I need to use Google Music on an Android device (or iPhone) or web browser to play my music. I mostly use my Android tablet or phone through a bluetooth speaker. However, it could use lots of improvement:

  • There’s no way to export a playlist, and your Google Music data is not part of Google Takeout.
  • I don’t think there’s a way to purchase all the tracks in my playlist. I’m afraid of what would happen if I cancelled my All Access subscription. Would it offer me the chance to buy the tracks? Would it permanently delete my playlist? Would I lose everything before I knew if I would lose everything?
  • You can’t search for tracks in a playlist. The browser’s (Firefox or Chrome) Find feature generally only searches through one page of the playlist.
  • You can’t easily move tracks around. If you want to add a track near the start of a 1000 song playlist then you’ll spend a long time dragging and dropping it from the bottom of the list to the top.
  • In the Google Music Android app, one false touch of the screen during an unexpected screen rotation can cause you to accidentally swipe a song out of your playlist. There’s no way to undo it, and no way to know exactly which version of the track you have just lost.
  • Songs you add to your library (or playlist) today might not play tomorrow. I’ve had songs just refuse to play. I guess the albums were removed from Google Music, but it would be nice to see some onscreen explanation when it happens. I’ve had this happen with Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels’ “Rev Up” compilation, Ann Peebles’ “The Hi Singles A’s & B’s” compilation and a Gene Pitney song.
  • It gets confused sometimes and fails silently. Playlists sometimes won’t sync between different browser tabs, as if the changes haven’t reached the server. Recently my playlist was stuck at 991 songs. Trying to add one more seemed to work, but it didn’t show up in other browser tabs or in the Android app. Trying to move the song in the playlist resulted in a “Couldn’t change order. Please try again.” error message. By chance I found that the playlist in the Android app had some of those now-unplayable songs (see above) in strange positions that were not showing up in the browser. After removing them in the Android app, I could make changes in the browser again.