Google Play Music Tips for the iPhone

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Play Music Videos: Google Play Music offers a variety of music videos. You can find music videos by searching for an artist or song. Scroll down to the bottom of the search results screen to view videos. Not all search results will offer video options. Videos are opened in the YouTube app. You can return to Google Play Music by tapping the app link on the top left of the screen.

If you’re in the Now Playing screen, any song with a corresponding video displays a convenient button to launch the video. Tapping this button stops music playback, opens the YouTube app and starts the music video.

Discover New Music

Google Play Music offers reasonably good music discovery features. They aren’t as good as Spotify’s, however, they surpass anything Apple has to offer. A lot of people are dazzled by Apple Music’s “For You” screen. It has a nice look, which seems derivative of Microsoft’s live tiles design, but the actual recommendations are not insightful.

Apple boasts that human curation is better than an algorithm. Both Spotify and Google Play Music use algorithms, and I find that the recommendations are actually better. After all, no human being has heard 35 million songs. An algorithm can make an association between what you listen to and what others with similar interests like. On a massive scale, with 35 million songs, an algorithm can easily beat a human. Google’s expertise at dealing with massive amounts of data beats human curation.

Recommendations are available to Google Play Music users in a variety of forms. The most obvious are presented on the Listen Now screen. This is the first screen you see when starting a fresh instance of the app. You can access this screen at any time by tapping the “hamburger” button and then tapping Listen Now. Scroll down on the Listen Now screen to the “Recommendations for you” section. This section provides radio stations and albums based on your listening habits.

I’m actually a bit underwhelmed with the recommendations offered on the Listen Now screen. There’s not that many of them, and, for the most part, they’re not that insightful. I’ve heard most of these artists and many of them are just radio stations based on artists I have listened to. I rarely listen to the radio stations, but they are useful.

Tapping on a radio station (but not the play button) displays information about related artists. This is a great way to discover new music. You can also play the radio station, launch the Now Playing view and tap on the queue button at the top of the screen. The first several songs of the radio station are displayed. You can browse this list and get excellent recommendations based on an artist you already know. Tap the vertical “…” button next to a song, and you can jump to that artist or album.

There are other ways to browse related artists. When you search for an artist and go to the artist’s screen, a list of related artists is presented at the bottom. Tap the “more” button to browse a bigger list of related artists. You can go to a related artist and browse another set of related artists. This is the best way to discover new music and re-discover artists you may have forgotten. (continue…)

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