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Google Play Music is going away. Google’s first music service will be shut down by December 2020. To keep your data, you’ll have to switch to YouTube Music—or download it. Here’s what you need to know.

When is Google Play Music Going Away?

Google has announced that “YouTube Music will replace Google Play Music by December 2020.” YouTube Music is Google’s replacement for Google Play Music. It appears to have the same big library of streaming music, but the interface is changing—and the app you’ll use to stream is changing, too. Google has been adding features from Google Play Music to YouTube Music, including the ability to upload and stream your own songs.

You will no longer be able to use the Google Play Music app to stream music starting October 2020. (The cutoff date is September 2020 in New Zealand and South Africa.) If you’re currently paying for a Google Play Music subscription and don’t transfer your account, Google will cancel your subscription at the end of your billing cycle in October (or September in New Zealand sn South Africa.)

However, you will be able to transfer everything you have in Google Play Music—your playlists, music uploads, purchases, and likes—to YouTube Music. The transfer service will be available through the end of December 2020.

After December 2020, Google will delete your Google Play Music data from its servers.

How to Switch to YouTube Music

You can transfer your Google Play Music account by using Google’s YouTube Music transfer tool. This is a one-time transfer process that will migrate all your Google Play Music data to YouTube Music. Visit the web page and click “Start Transfer.”

Whether you subscribe to Google Play Music’s streaming library or you’ve uploaded some of your own songs and you use Google Play Music to listen to them—or both—you can continue using YouTube Music to play your music after the switch.

Transferring a Google Play Music account to YouTube Music

If you’re an existing subscriber, you’ll now be billed through YouTube but your monthly subscription price and benefits will stay the same (“unless you are in a location with fluctuating currency,” according to Google.) Even if YouTube now charges extra for the benefits you’re paying for, you’ll keep any discounts you have.

After you’ve switched, head to the YouTube Music website and use the YouTube Music apps for Android, iPhone, and iPad to stream your music.

How to Download Your Music

If you’re done with Google’s music services, you can also download any uploaded music and take it with you.

Until late August 2020, you can still use the Google Play Music Manager application to download your uploaded music files from Google Play Music.

You can also use Google Takeout to download your Google Play Music data and take it with you. Ensure “Google Play Music” is checked to download everything—from a list of all the songs you’ve added to your library to any music files you’ve uploaded. Google Takeout should work until Google Play Music shuts down at the end of December 2020.

Downloading Google Play Music data from Google Takeout

Not a fan of YouTube Music? Try Spotify or Apple Music instead.

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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