Save Your Google Play Music Library Before It Disappears

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By the end of 2020, Google Play Music will join the ever-growing list of dead Google products. If you’ve ever used the service to store music — one of its best features — you need to back up or transfer your songs now, because they’ll all disappear in several months’ time.

You can keep using Google Music for a few more weeks if you want to, but Google will soon start removing its features. For example, according to Google’s timeline, you will no longer be able to purchase new music starting sometime in late August.

In October (or September for users in South Africa and New Zealand), the app will stop working altogether. However, your uploads, purchases and other data will still be stored in the cloud and available for transfer until December 2020. After that, the entire service will shut down and you’ll lose access to anything you haven’t downloaded or transferred — so why not download or transfer everything right now?

How to transfer or backup your Google Play Music library and data

Users have a couple of choices here:

  • Pivot to YouTube. The simplest option is to transfer your Google Music library and associated data over to YouTube Music. This will include all the music you’ve purchased, “Saved to library” or uploaded to Google Play Music, as well as your playlists, likes and recommendations.
  • Make a local backup. The other option is to download your personal music files and data from Google Play Music and save it in the cloud somewhere else. (You can also upload this data to YouTube Music manually if you change your mind later).

Transfer Google Play Music to YouTube Music

Google provides users with simple transfer tools on both desktop and mobile — and since YouTube Music and Google Play Music use the same servers and data, the transfer completes quickly. We previously covered both options here.

I opted for the in-app method and it only took a few minutes for my entire Google Play Music library to migrate to YouTube Music. As far as I can tell, everything made the move intact. To be fair, I only used Google Play Music occasionally and my library wasn’t too big, so your experience may vary if you have a massive collection.

Export your Google Play Music library to your device

Screenshot: Brendan Hesse

This method downloads your uploaded and purchased Google Play Music tracks as MP3s. It also exports the metadata for tracks, playlists and radio stations as .CSV files. All the files are collected and downloaded as compressed archive files, like .Zip files.

  1. Go to takeout.google.com in a desktop browser.
  2. Sign in with your Google Account.
  3. Select the data you want to export — and if all you want is your Google Play Music library, click “Deselect All” at the top of the list, then scroll down and re-select “Google Play Music.”
  4. Scroll down and click “Next.”
  5. Select “Export Once”
  6. Specify the file type and size limits for your export files (the default .Zip file format is probably best for most users).
  7. Click “Create export” and wait for the downloads to complete. Download time will vary based on the size of your library.

After the export is done, you can unzip the files and upload the contents to other streaming services like Spotify.

Comments

  • While at it, move away everything you have invested in Google. Just can’t be trusted any longer.

    I have a lot og photos on the Google Photos service and am wondering when they change terms with a paid only model, or dump it altogether.

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