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Google Play Music All Access review

Michael Sawh



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Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access
  • Google Play Music All Access


Our Score:



  • Clean, intuitive interface
  • Vast catalogue of music
  • Can use on multiple devices at the same time


  • iOS not supported
  • No Twitter or Facebook support
  • Can only upload music from desktop manager

Key Features

  • Access to 18 million tracks
  • Ad-free radio stations
  • Upload 20,000 tracks to the cloud
  • Store music offline
  • Google+ support
  • Manufacturer: Google
  • Review Price: £9.99

What Is Google Play Music All Access?

Google Play Music All Access is a music streaming subscription service that is set to take on the likes of Spotify, Xbox Music, Sony Music Unlimited, Deezer and Apple’s soon to be released iTunes Radio.

Offering access to 18 million tracks and the ability to store 20,000 songs in Google’s cloud locker, All Access costs £9.99 a month and can be used on smartphones, tablets and via the web. You can trial the service free for 30 days and if you sign up before September 15th pay £7.99 a month instead.

There’s no ads, plenty of music (including the Beatles), and it’s cheaper than other music streaming services if you sign up now. It’s seen as the last piece of the Google Play puzzle, but does it really have what it takes to take on Spotify, Rdio and the rest? We put All Access to the test to find out.

Google Play Music All Access – Design

Google Music launched in the UK back in November 2012 offering users access to the iTunes Match-style scan and match service and cloud locker service for free. Now All Access unifies all of your music whether it’s discovering new artists, accessing your entire music library, listening to the personalized radio stations or simply making playlists.

The original Google Play Music application was a clunky and quite simplistic affair. In its latest guise Google has brought it in line with the rest of the Google Play departments. It looks cleaner, more user-friendly and it's easy to identify music that exists on the device and in the cloud. The app UI is consistent across all devices although we did notice that the sidebar gets cut off. It doesn’t affect selecting the drop down menu, but it looks a little messy.

In terms of layout, you still have the sidebar on the left hand side, and the tiled-style content with big visible cover artwork. Up top is the search bar and customary three dot Settings drop down. Player functions sit at the bottom and a click on the cover art launches the full size player. Here you can choose to shuffle, repeat, skip tracks backwards and forwards, and give the track a thumbs up or down. Cover artwork slowly scrolls across the screen once the music is playing.

Some might prefer the predominantly white UI to the darker look on Spotify, but there is very little between the two in terms of intuitiveness. We are surprised that Google doesn't offer the ability to customize the look of the player.

Google Play Music All Access – Features

Google Music All Access is broken down into five categories. First up is ‘Listen Now’ where you can see all single tracks, albums, playlists and radio stations recently listened to all in one place. Then there’s ‘My Library’ where you’ll find songs uploaded from the Google Music desktop manager to the Google cloud locker plus any songs you’ve purchased from Google Play Music.

‘Playlists’ is where you find new playlists as well as ones created automatically from the most recent music added. 'Radio' follows the same principles of dedicated services like Pandora and Blinkbox Music. You get ad-free radio stations where you can skip tracks or go back to tracks that have already played. Last up is ‘Explore’ to discover new artists, music or playlists based on listening habits.

In terms of general settings, you can view account details, cancel your subscription, block explicit songs in radio mode and access the bog standard equalizer. In the Downloading settings, you can choose caching options for offline play and whether to download music over Wi-Fi.

Google gives you access to 18 million tracks compared to Spotify’s reported 20 million strong catalogue and Xbox Music’s mammoth 30 million tracks. All Access also includes the back catalogue for artists who have previously avoided handing over music to streaming services. That includes the Beatles, Oasis, Pink Floyd and Radiohead.

Some other good news is that All Access can offer a maximum of 320kpbs sound quality. There’s Low, Normal and High stream qualities to choose from and this is adjusted depending on internet speed and the strength of the network connection. You can also cache tracks offline or ‘pin’ them to the device.

Some people enjoy telling friends on Facebook or Twitter what they are listening to by cluttering up their newsfeeds with updates. The good or bad news depending on how you feel about sharing music over social networks is that All Access only lets you do this via Google.

Google Play Music All Access is currently only available as an Android app and web app, so there’s no love for iOS users just yet. There are third party app ways around it, but it looks like iPhone and iPad users are going to have to live without it for now.


August 13, 2013, 4:32 pm

You can't stream simultaneously on multiple devices, the previous device will get paused.

'Your Google Play Music account allows you to listen to music on up to ten devices through your account. Music from your Google Play account cannot be played simultaneously on more than one device at a time.'



August 13, 2013, 4:34 pm

One thing I have noticed with Play Music Android program (sorry, it takes a bit of explaining):

I have a load of MP3s saved to my SD card and have methodically added high-res album art to these files. I haven't bothered to add album art to my main music collection because my previous program of choice had a tiny album art picture and a purely text-based library manager. Music on my phone, however, is a more visually navigated experience so I wanted the art on show.

Anyway, when I uploaded everything to Play Music (I don't see the problem with Music Manager, personally, I just left it running in the background and it automatically adds anything new if detected) it also uploaded the low-res, missing or wrong art (again, because I didn't care about my base music)

The problem comes with when I log into Play Music on my smartphone. The first thing it does when it connects to the server is pull all the data and art from the Play Music server INCLUDING THE ART OF THE OFFLINE FILES! Thus lovely high-res album art gets overwritten by shoddy low-res or wrong art and there is no way to stop this!

So, my recommendation to everyone is this: Make sure that all your tags and album art are correct and high-res BEFORE you upload anything to the online locker! However methodical you are with your locally transferred MP3s, it will be overwritten from the online copy, which seems to always takes priority!


August 14, 2013, 10:29 am

I am a huge google fan in general, so I've been waiting for this. I admit that I prefer free streaming services (use torch music now), but I can't imagine google putting out a bad product. Time to buy in!

Kevin Smith

August 14, 2013, 11:50 am

Can you scrobble to Last.fm using this service?


August 14, 2013, 12:49 pm

Not on competitors OS. How is that a negative? Can we assume any Apple only reviews of software will include a negative of "Android not supported"?

As it's google, I'm assuming they'll put out an iOS app, but it seems a rather unfair critique even if they don't. The world doesn't revolve around iOS devices.

Michael Sawh

August 14, 2013, 1:59 pm

Hi BlackAle, interesting that Google states that on the Support page. I have on more than one occasion been able to run radio stations and play the same songs from the library on two separate devices (tablet and smartphone) at the same time without any pausing. Have you had a chance to give it a try yet?

Connor Mason

August 14, 2013, 6:21 pm

I am able to scrobble using the Last.fm Android app, but I haven't found an official way to scrobble using the web player

Kim Wong

August 15, 2013, 3:25 am

I agree with Michael, I've been able to stream from my computer and my phone simultaneously, even on the same network.


September 10, 2013, 10:23 am

A warning, particularly if you use the trial: when you cancel "Google Play Music All Access" make sure to do it from within your Google Wallet settings. The way described in the Online help does not work. If you have not received a cancellation mail, the service has not been cancelled.

Pete Coventry

September 11, 2013, 11:25 pm

The only other good thing about Spotify is that you can buy a months unlimited which goes to 2 weeks premium. You can then download songs and on the last day sync to get a new licence and then listen offline for 30 days.

So it's cheaper


October 10, 2013, 6:00 am

You can download a Web scrobbler for Chrome (and I assume other browsers too) which works great with online audio streaming sites. Works flawlessly with Google Play Music and YouTube.

James Darmody

November 5, 2013, 12:28 pm

No iOS support. Just like iTunes doesn't support Android then. Only the likes of Spotify seems to cover all the bases on that front.

No Twitter/Facebook support. Good - I don't need to share what I'm listening to with all and sundry. It's a very minor ommission in all honesty.

Can only upload from desktop. Whilst true, Google Music has loads of stuff on there, 95% of my music was already on all access. Personally I ensure my music collection isn't all stored on one mobile device, for a start it'd never fit, but secondly it's pretty bad practice. You want it stored on a cloud based system really, a NAS or something similar to that. Not on a mobile phone.

Thus I conclude that the above review is actually a bit on the poor side.

The true cons of Google AA Music are as follows:
- Sometimes it's hard to find songs that you know are on there! E.g. Searching for 'Coldplay Atlas' didn't bring back their latest song even thought it was there.
- Some albums don't feature all the songs (compliation albums), I'm guessing this is because of license reasons, but it's frustrating.
- Apparently you can't use Google Play vouchers to pay for your subscription, which is annoying, as it means there's no point in me asking for a few for Xmas.

- It does work on multiple devices at the same time, I've had it running on 4 devices at once !
- Good music selection that is constantly improving
- The offline storage option is brilliant, if I'm going abroad or on a plane I can download lots of music to keep me entertained for hours.

So as a subscriber to the service for a few months (I went for it at £7.99 p/m), I'd rate it as 8.5./10 for the above reasons. The uploading and Twitter/Fb cons as listed are irrelavent really.


January 31, 2014, 8:16 pm

I love this app, I use it all the time, never use my music player anymore. Any downloaded songs show up right away. 10/10!!

Caleb Wessels

May 16, 2014, 5:38 am

It seems to sometime's work and sometimes not for me ... It'll let both my boyfriend and I play on separate devices and then randomly pause them. Very frustrating, I would even be willing to pay an extra $2-3 a month to unlock another device.

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