Sunday, April 16, 2017

Tech Epiphanies: A Spotify Listener Looks Longingly at Google Play Music

Uh-oh, Spotify. Google Play Music has some killer features you may want to copy:

  • Family-friendly mode (aka "Protect Jr's Ears" mode).
  • Easy mixing of streamed and owned tracks.
  • Start Song Radio.

As with most tech epiphanies this one occurred while doing something else (managing offspring videos). YouTube Red ads feature prominently. I suspected the offline features of Red might be helpful (this suspicion has not yet been confirmed).

At the bottom of the Red ad it says "includes Google Play Music subscription" [question to future self: any value in dynamic ad element positioning? deal hunters might be more tempted if tucked away where others might not notice]. The first month is free so I decide to give it a spin.

Family-friendly mode (aka "Protect Jr's Ears" mode)

Is a family friendly mode a big deal? Have a look at this Spotify community post. When tens of thousands of people bother to complain about the lack of a feature they likely represent 10x their number as most won't post at all.

Google Play Music has it. And they didn't punt on user convenience, the system itself finds the edited/radio-friendly version of a song and plays that one instead when non-explicit mode is on.

Start Song Radio

All* the streaming services have a "start song radio" feature. It's an attempt to match the convenience of terrestrial radio (turn it on and music starts playing). They already know they've got the terrestrials beat on quality and selection (which is why DJs are coming back... but I digress).

But they all do it awkwardly - if you start listening to the song and then "start song radio" for that song the song is interrupted and either starts over or another is started. Google Play Music does it properly. It's a little thing but the experience is offputting for audiophiles and civilians alike. Great to see it implemented so cleanly.

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