Finally, the Beatles come to Google Play Music

The Beatles 002

The Beatles on Google Play Music

The number one band in the world, both during and, at least searched for, after their tenure, the Beatles have finally come to Google Play Music. If you need to give peace a chance, to take a sad song and make it better, but all you need is love, then you are probably looking for The Beatles.

Thankfully, after a long time in collecting and ironing out deals Google has managed to get these great composers to come along under the Play Music banner.  Starting on December 24, all 13 of the album of The Beatles will be available.  And to make that addition just a bit sweeter, Google is including four Beatles collections.

Rocking, literally, 20 number “1” hit songs from the Billboard Hot 100 hits, The Beatles’ music has lost no moment in the decades since they broke up.

Sadly, this great music collection still can’t be found on Apple Music, or Spotify, but somehow Google Play Music as well as several other streaming groups have managed an agreement.   And not to be left out, the great Beatles Anthology still goes missing in all formats, but we should probably see it soon too.

Nevertheless, fans everywhere, both original and newer, should be happy to know that whatever songs they might have been missing prior can be found on Google Play Music streaming services.   You can even ask Google to “Let is stream” for a selection of these greats via “OK Google”.

Check out The Beatles on Google Play Music

Google Play Music: Family Plan

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The New Google Play Music Family Plan

Google Play continues to become more diverse and fascinating, and now with the Google Play Music Family Plan, you plus 5 others can get access to the same great features.

The benefit is great and the price small, but the access might require a bit of explanation.  For those who picked up the Google Play Music in the first 6 months, the price was $7.99 per month. But since then it has gone up to $9.99 per month.  Now with 6 people on one account, it will be a 50% increase in price.  But for those who began service at the beginning of Google Play Music, there is no discount with the upgrade.

How to Upgrade

As for the access to making the changes to upgrade to Google Play Music Family, the options are ONLY found in the app.  (Most searching on the website won’t lead you there, trust me).  The upgrade isn’t hard, but it’s not incredibly simple either.   By starting the Google Play Music app, selecting the hamburger menu button (upper left corner), and then settings, you see a selection “Upgrade to family plan”

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Google tries to make it as obvious as possible as to what you are getting yourself into. Your account will have the ability to manage up to 6 accounts including your own.  Each account will have full access to Google Play Music and YouTube Red.  You have the ability to give each family member the capacity to make purchases on their own or via your approval.  Remember, you’re paying, so it would be good to know who is buying what.

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Once you arrive at the Invite screen, you can send invites to other gmail users.  Google will make you aware that each user needs to be at least 13 years of age, per the requirements of gmail users’ terms of service.  But you, yourself being at least 13 years of age, is probably aware of that already.  As you add users, a ticker at the bottom of the addition space will increment up.  You can at any time cancel the invitation to any user.  The return time for each invite is very fast.  Users click “Accept” in the email that they receive and within seconds you should receive a notification.

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Now, rather than (up to) 6 separate accounts, you can have one account for all your Music / YouTube loving family members.  The plan keeps “all in the family” and the costs down.  Finally, one somewhat less played fact is that the control you manage over the account, does allow for Google Play store purchases.  Although it does not at all allow for purchases of hardware yet from the store, it does allow you to either give full permissions, or by your approval only.  Smart Move, Google, smart move.

Google Music Subscription Plus YouTube Red

Google Music Plus YouTube Red

YouTube Red was announced recently by YouTube for those who would like to stop getting ads on YouTube.  But the lesser known fact in this change is that you also get Google Play Music.  What does that mean for you?

If you currently subscribe to Google Play Music you will automatically get the ad-free version of YouTube (Red).  So either way you win, whether it be by getting unlimited access to a monstrous library of music (20 million+ songs) or ad-free YouTube.

But wait there’s more…. much more

With YouTube Red you will be able to get more content offline and in the background.  So if you wanted to listen to you favorite playlist of VEVO music videos or Podcasts on YouTube, while doing something else on your smartphone or tablet, you can with this new service.  YouTube will also be launching YouTube Original Series and Movies (similar to Amazon Video on-Demand features).

Google has a unique approach to the method of paying one fee for multiple applications.  Unlike so many other apps, your access is tied to your Google account, so you can use either YouTube Red or Google Play Music, and possible more in the future.

Sorry iOS Users

Due to the Apple Tax, iPhone and iPad users will have to pay $13 / month to access this feature.  There’s no getting around it since Apple requires 30% from all app purchases.  Whereas Android device users will only pay the $10 / month standard fee.  And anyone who had signed up with Google Play Music back when it came out will still be grandfathered in at $8 / month (don’t go changin’).

 

Get ready for the new idea if you’re not into it already, coming at the end of month.  Wednesday, October 28th 2015.  If you’re on-board, you’ll only lose the ads.  But if you’re not check it out now.

YouTube Red

Google Chromecast Audio Includes Multi-room Music

Google Chromecast Audio includes Multi-room Music

For anyone who has struggled to find a suitable multi-room audio solution, your solution has arrived in the form of Google Chromecast Audio.  Ok, so maybe very few people have the cash laying around to purchase 3 or 4 Sonos devices in order to acquire the full multi-room music solution.  Most of us do not have $1200-$2000 just for in-home audio; that’s what a portable Bluetooth speakers is for.

At a whopping $35 per device, the Chromecast Audio is an easy choice over the least expensive Sonos device ($200) which starts at six times the price of the Chromecast Audio.  Certainly, the quality of the Sonos speaker is better than that of most Bluetooth Speakers, but why spend so much more, when you can use what you (likely) already have.

BEM, a manufacturer of Bluetooth speakers, has an interesting solution for multi-room music.  They offer 3 battery-operated Bluetooth-connected speakers (HLB2002B) that each inductively charge on a platform.   You’d think that this would be great for multi-room audio, but there is a drawback: Bluetooth.   Bluetooth is only good for about 30 feet, line-of-sight, and if your house is really old (like most homes in San Francisco) that range could be < 5 feet.   However, this BEM device still sports a 3.5mm audio jack and could therefore cater to the Chromecast Audio.

Alternatively, it is possible to connect a Chromecast to a TV in each room and even stream to all devices at once.  But how many of us have an TV+speakers in every room?

Are we now on the edge of our seats as to how this new Google device will change music playback?

Google Chromecast Audio

 

 

Google Play Music in Canada

Google play music in canada

 

It’s official, Google Play Music in Canada is hear here.   Canadians who’ve been patiently awaiting (using a US account via proxy), can now have their Cake and listen to it all day.  It’s somewhat disappointing that it has taken this long for Google to meet the rigorous requirements of Canada’s laws.  It seemed that Europe was a shoe-in where, Canada was an after-thought.

How many great Canadian artists have gone to the US to produce music only to be blocked from their own countrymen?  But now, no longer.   Google is fortunate to have bested many of its competitors to the Canadian market, and now  can inspire the thousands of future Canadian musicians with unlimited streaming.

Google is throwing in another benefit that Canadians would have missed out on, from the initial release in the US: the $2 discount.  From now until the end of June all new Canadian customers can get the full Google Play Music package for $7.99 / month, rather than $9.99 / month.