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Author: Mark Fleming

YouTube Music Could Become Android’s Default Music Player

Today, the official music player of Android is Google Play Music, although the winds of change have been blowing since 2014 with YouTube Music and especially since the idea transmuted to YouTube Music. But it could not be forever, after digging into the APK of the last update, 9to5Google has found clues that YouTube Music could end up being the music player of Android.

It should be remembered that the development teams of YouTube Music and Google Play Music have been combined for a couple of years. Both applications have a similar purpose (listening to music) but under a different premise. In fact, Google Play Music subscriptions also serve YouTube Music, at least in some countries.

There can only be one: Will YouTube Music?

Specifically, the tracks found by 9to5Google are the possibility of adding your own tracks to YouTube Music, something that is present in Google Play Music but is not in the simpler YouTube Music application. This possibility is mentioned in several text strings within the application since November last year.

More interesting is the name of the icon, which seems to allude to a version of YouTube Music preinstalled on the system. For now, it is not one of the apps that are included by default in the Google apps package, but that could change in the future after you have added the necessary functions for it. YouTube Music is still a little green today.

As always, we must walk with lead feet with what we discover from analyzing the guts of an APK. There is nothing confirmed, but it makes sense that sooner or later sanity will prevail and Google will have a single streaming music application for everyone. At present, moreover, the offer is more fragmented because YouTube Music is available in fewer countries than Google Play Music.

Generally we can get an idea of which app goes ahead and which stays in the way by the pace of updates and the effort of them, although in this case both have been updated relatively recently. None of them has the new Google Material Theme, although this does not tell us much at the moment because Google is taking its time and, for example, neither does the YouTube app.

YouTube Music now allows you to play the songs stored in the memory of your mobile, so you can do it

YouTube Music is, in a nutshell, Google’s Spotify. Called to replace Google Play Music, YouTube Music allows users to access, via subscription, all the music stored on YouTube without ads and in the background. Now goes a step further, since it has been updated to allow playback of content stored locally.

In other words, YouTube Music can now act as a streaming music player or as a player to use. It should be noted that you do not need to pay the subscription to access the local files, as was already the case with Google Play Music. On the other hand, this function seems to be available from version 3.13, which is the one that can be downloaded from Google Play.

How to play your music on YouTube Music

The function is not activated by default, but it is necessary to follow a couple of quick steps. The instructions are as follows:

  1. Open YouTube Music.
  2. Go to “Library”.
  3. Click on “Songs”.
  4. A pop-up will appear asking if you want to play the audio files on your device. Select “Allow” and give it permission to access the terminal’s internal memory.
  5. Automatically, a new tab called “Device Files” will be enabled at the top. There you will find all the music you have stored in your mobile memory.

It is important to make it clear that not only the songs, but also other audio files such as voice recordings appear, so it is possible that during playback of the library appears an audio note without notice. At the moment, it is not possible to filter the search for files by folders as you can do in PowerAmp, for example, so you have to wait or delete any audio file that is not music.

You can’t make mixed playlists, i.e. there can’t be local and YouTube Music songs in the same playlist.

You can’t add local songs to playlists or to the queue if they include YouTube Music songs, i.e. you’ll have to manage your songs on one side and those of the service on the other. What you can do is play the local files in the background without paying the subscription fee.

As we said before, it seems that this function has already been officially deployed in Google Play, so if you were already a YouTube Music user check the app store to see if you have the pending update. If you weren’t, you can try YouTube Music Premium for free for a month and then decide if you want to stay or just keep listening to your MP3s.

Google Home speakers now allow you to listen to YouTube Music for free

Last March the music service YouTube Music reached the speakers Google Home, but only did so for users subscribed to the paid version YouTube Music Premium, leaving out of this integration users with a free account, until now…

YouTube Music already allows users to use Google Home speakers to listen to their millions of songs for free in exchange for putting advertising between songs and other limitations that we will see below.

How to listen to free music with YouTube Music

YouTube Music currently allows you to listen to music on a Google Home, Home Mini and Home Max loudspeaker in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands and Austria.

The free version of YouTube Music has the same limitations as Spotify. Apart from putting ads between songs, it does not allow us to play specific requests or repeat songs. We can only listen to radio stations and music related to the album, song or playlist we ordered. In addition, we can only skip up to 6 songs per hour. You will have to pay 9.99 euros/month to skip these limitations.

To listen to music with the Google Assistant you can use some of these “Ok Google…” commands:

  • Listen to music
  • “Put [artist’s name].”
  • “Play music [genre/mood state/broadcaster].”
  • Personalized suggestions: “Put on some music.”
  • Control playback:
  • Pause or stop: “Pause” or “Pause the music.
  • Resume: “Resume” or “Keep playing.
  • Next: “Next,” “Skip,” or “Next Song.
  • Previous: “Previous” or “Play previous”.
  • Get information: “What’s playing?”.
  • Selecting a Default Music Service

In order for our speaker to default to YouTube Music music we have to follow these steps:

  • Launch the Google Assistant by holding down the start button or say “Ok Google”.
  • Click on the compass icon (Browse), then on your profile icon and then on Settings.
  • On the Services tab, click Music.
  • Select your favorite music service.

Apple Music joins the list of music services compatible with Google Home

Google Home Smart Speakers could integrate Apple’s music service very soon. At least that’s what you can intuit after seeing Apple Music appear in Google Home’s iOS app. Although it is not yet possible to link them, everything suggests that it will be a matter of days.

The arrival, although necessary, is curious, as it assumes that the loudspeaker Mountain View will host one of its main rivals in the industry. At the moment, it is not known when the option will appear in the Android app.

Spotify, Google Play Music and now Apple Music

In addition to native services such as Google Play Music or YouTube, Google’s Smart Speaker allows you to use other streaming music services such as Spotify, Deezer or Pandora. The user only has to choose a default option to listen to music. And to all of them, it seems that Apple Music will be added soon.

Thus, in the Spanish app of Google Home for iOS has appeared the option to play music through Apple Music, as Applesfera has been able to verify. Although it is not yet possible to activate it, it seems that it will be a matter of time and once you do, it will be possible to choose this music service by default.

At the moment it is not known when this option will arrive for Android, although the movement of Apple first choosing its own ecosystem seems logical. However, it is expected to be released on Android in the near future.

Although Google is one of the intelligent loudspeakers of reference along with Amazon Echo, the arrival of Apple Music comes months after its main competitor, despite being the smart loudspeakers that sell the most. In fact, Apple Music arrived in Echo in November last year.

It was all a mistake: Apple Music stays with Google Assistant
If you had had illusions and thought that the arrival of Apple Music to Google Home was imminent, nothing could be further from the truth. Google has clarified that the appearance of the music service of the Cupertino, Apple Music, in the app of Google Home was due to an error and is not expected to arrive.

Thus, as explained the parent company of Google, Alphabet, Apple Music is only available to users of Google Assistant on mobile devices. In addition, they insist, the company has no plans to add new music services to Google Home.

Apple Music simplifies its interface to streamline navigation between its playlists

Today we are also not seeing any new product appear suddenly as has happened during the first half of this week, but we have some more discreet novelty. Apple Music has redesigned the interface of its sections to explore content, simplifying navigation.

In this new design, the playlists of the best hits of the moment stand out much more, so at the moment it looks like a selection of playlists that will change depending on the day and the moment in which we find ourselves. The novelty is spreading through all the user accounts while you are reading this.

Steps prior to Monday’s preparations?

Now there are also more playlists created by the service experts, and there is a new section dedicated exclusively to the new songs and albums of the moment. The categories of moods, genres and music videos (among others) are included in the ‘Explore More’ section.

Curiously, the link to see the TV and film sections that were in Apple Music has disappeared, and it is impossible not to think that this design change could be a previous step to the launch of the series and film service that the company is going to present to us next Monday. Since Cupertino many things are being polished, and it is noticed that they consider the next keynote as something that is going to be important in the history of the apple bite.

Apple Music to Launch Exclusive Wiz Khalifa Documentary Series

The Apple company will exclusively release a documentary about rapper Wiz Khalifa’s career at Apple Music. The launch will take place on Wednesday, April 17, and the series will include five episodes revealing “the most intimate aspects” of Wiz’s life, through archival footage and several interviews with friends and family.

According to Variety, the series will premiere during Khalifa’s two presentations in Coachella, which will take place this weekend and the weekend of April 19. The project’s executive producer, Michael Strahan, said the team is excited to work with Apple Music on the series to have the opportunity to “give the world an intimate look at the emergence of an entertainment icon.

As you can see from the trailer published in the U.S. media, this installment has a different focus than most music documentaries, showing images of Wiz’s adolescence, as well as testimonies from his mother and lifelong companions, who talk about his early dedication to the world of music. The documentary even shows those moments when the artist plays for very few people, but the trailer ends up with him playing the same song later in his career for thousands of people.

Music documentaries continue at Apple Music

Although Cupertino’s firm has made it clear that it is focused on advancing its Apple TV+ services, it appears that documentaries related to music and behind-the-scenes movies will continue to be published on Apple Music.

However, Apple eliminated the TV and Movies section in Apple Music in a recent iOS update, which introduced its revamped design to allow quick navigation through the cured music playlists. In the category ‘Browse’ it is still possible to find music documentaries, but also when entering the profile of the artist of our interest, we will find the content of series or videos that are available in Apple Music.

Beyonce’s album ‘Lemonade’ will arrive on 23rd April at Apple Music

We have good news for Beyonce’s followers! Finally, the artist’s album ‘Lemonade’ will no longer be exclusive to the Tidal platform. This means that, after its release 3 years ago, Apple Music users will be able to access the song conglomerate on April 23rd.

That’s why, in addition to being available on iTunes for purchase, now people who subscribe to Apple Music will be able to see this Beyoncé album in the catalogue. In order to enjoy it, users will have to listen to the audio of the movie of the same name that was presented jointly to the album and where all the songs are.

The release of ‘Lemonade’ on Apple Music marks the third anniversary of the film’s HBO debut. It’s also the first time that the entire Beyonce catalog is available for broadcast.

An exclusive Tidal album will reach other platforms
In 2016 Benyoncé released the album Lemonade, an album that is only available today on Tidal to listen to via streaming. However, the Apple user who wanted to listen to it had to go to iTunes to buy it, where it has been on sale since its release.

Lemonade’ is a 65-minute album with guest appearances by The Weeknd, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar and James Blake. All Apple Music subscribers will be able to listen to it from next Tuesday.

Apple Music’s ‘For You’ section now shows new recommendations based on themes

Although Apple Music has been with us for a few years now, it really is still a “new” service with many features that you can add. In one of the points where it has improved constantly is in the customization and recommendations. Now the service has started to show even more personalized content for each user in the ‘For you’ section.

As indicated from 9to5mac, Apple Music now displays custom and theme-based playlists. These new playlists are based on the user’s play history and especially on the artists they have recently listened to. There are interesting new categories such as ‘Starting Early’ or ‘To Make You Smile’. All of them are different in each user according to their tastes and preferences.

The constant evolution of ‘Para ti’ (For you)

This change in Apple Music isn’t the only one we’ve had since its launch a few years ago. The app has been adding for example new custom lists that are updated regularly. For example ‘Mix: friends’ or ‘Mix: chill’. We’ve also seen recently how Apple is hiring artists to make custom album art for each playlist.

The new recommendations seem to be coming gradually to all users, so if you still don’t see anything new in your Apple Music, it’s just a matter of days. Be that as it may, it is certainly interesting to see that the development of this service has not been finished by Apple, but we continue and will continue to get new features.

Soor is all that the Music app should be: that’s what this player with full Apple Music compatibility is like.

Some time ago Apple opened a little more its Apple Music service for third parties to integrate into their apps. With this opening we have seen websites with unofficial players that work entirely with Apple Music. But why not do it with an app? The developer @tanmays has done it, and his Soor app is spectacular.

Soor is a new app available in the App Store. It’s a music player that has full support for Apple Music and therefore can play any song as long as we connect our Apple Music account. In my case, I knew from the first day I tried it that I wasn’t going to use the official app anymore. I’ve been using it for several months and I reaffirm, Apple Music enjoys this app a lot more.

An immersive, dark-mode interface

The main peculiarity of Soor and advantage over Apple Music is its interface, after all it will not make the songs better or worse. Soor has an interface totally different from the one used by Apple, much more immersive and with functions and animations that make the user experience better. Each icon has an animation, there is a kind of equalizer animating the playback screen, it works based on “layers” that overlap in the app… it’s best to try it to check everything that comes with it.

But if there’s something worth using this app for, it’s its glorious dark mode. The app has a total of three themes, where the red orange color is the driver. However, we can modify the theme so that the predominant color is white, a dark gray or a pure black. The app also has numerous gestures and small details that you discover with use. For example by sliding up, when you get to the beginning you can automatically “press” the search button or the settings button, just by sliding the screen really.

The other functions of Soor

The app is not only a nice interface, it also has its own options such as more accurate searches in Apple Music. There is nothing that hates Apple Music more than how badly it finds the content. In Soor it is easier to filter it by album, author, title or universal. Another curious detail is that it has integration with Musixmatch, so it not only shows you the lyrics of the song being played, but also highlights live the part being played.

On the other hand, I especially liked the drag-and-drop gestures. We can select individual lists, albums or songs to change the order of playback in the playback queue. But also when selecting these items there are a series of options at the bottom to mark them as “I like”, add them to playlists or add them to the play queue among other things.

The Worthwhile Alternative to Music

Maybe it’s because it’s an app with a totally different design, maybe it’s because it leaves aside the design used by Apple for years, maybe it’s because of the gestures it brings… the fact is that I can’t stop using Soor now that I know it. It’s an app that can really replace iOS Music, not like other apps that only show local or downloaded songs. Here we have an (almost) total integration with Apple Music.

Almost total because Soor effectively has some limitations to keep in mind. The Apple Music API doesn’t allow some details such as deleting songs from the library or viewing the ‘Mix: Friends’ playlist (the other three custom playlists are). The other limitations are found in the playlists, which can not change their name, change the order of the songs or remove songs from them. Beyond not having ‘Mix: Amigos’, the rest in my case is irrelevant.

Soor is available in the App Store for a total price of 10,99 euros. No in-app purchases or subscription. My recommendation is to give it a chance, if you have to put a hiccup is that you do not have an app for iPad.

Marvis, the most customizable Apple Music client of all

These last few months we have seen how different alternatives to Apple Music have emerged. To the Apple Music app in particular, because they are customers who use the Apple service to play music in a different app than the official one. We saw for example Soor or even a web player.

There is a new alternative that has been added recently with its arrival at the App Store, is Marivs, an app of the most customizable. In the last few days I’ve been using Marvis as my main music player on the iPhone, and the sensations are incredible. That’s why Marvis is our App of the Week.

Change the views, change the colors, change the shapes

Above all and what surprises and hooks most of this app is all the possibilities it offers when it comes to modify it to our needs. It has a very customizable interface, here are some examples of what can be changed in it:

We can modify the order of how the songs are shown in a list or general view. We can for example change the order so that they are shown alphabetically, by year, by date added, by punctuation, randomly… Also, to choose if we want them to are shown in the form of list or grid. To show or not to show details of each song… and many other things.

Light mode and dark mode. Obviously this feature could not be missing in an app that boasts customization of the interface. We can activate it manually, depending on the brightness or by shaking the phone.

Marvis has a lateral menu that appears when sliding, in it we can see the main sections of the app like the initial screen, the lists, the albums, the artists… And of course, we can choose which items of the menu we want to appear here.

Of course, an app as customizable as Marvis also allows you to modify the icon of the the moment has 24 different icons.

The background of the app is translucent, after it we can choose what we want to show. There are a series of gradients available that modify the general aspect of the app, although we can also choose not to see anything or a blurred cover.

In the home screen we can choose which sections we want to show and the order in which we want them. For example, we have: last reproductions, recently added, more reproduced, Mix lists, new releases, more valued, Apple Music recommendations…

The look of the Marvis player can also be changed. For example, you can choose whether to see the letter or not, or to see the play queue. The same applies to the name of the artist or album.

The other details of Marvis

Marivs has many more details, the best thing is to try the app and find them. Some more that I found remarkable are the following:

Gestures in the player: Sliding your finger to the left or right allows you to change songs easily, touching the title of the song allows you to value it or indicate whether we like it or not, with two touches you can see the entire album … And of course, all these gestures can be modified to trigger something different.

Landscape mode: If you are one of those who uses the iPhone in landscape mode, the app adapts completely to this view.

Mini Player: When a song is playing (or paused), a floating mini player will appear at the bottom of the app. We can choose if we want to see the artist’s name too, or if we want the cover to be square, rounded or circular. You can also make it smaller by sliding it to the right to see only the cover.

Drag and drop: The app allows you to take several songs and drag them to the mini player to add them to the queue, play them instantly or other actions.

Musixmatch lyrics: Marvis integrates with Musixmatch, so the lyrics we see of the songs takes them directly from the service and allows us to follow the lyrics according to the reproduction.

Drag and drop: The app allows you to take several songs and drag them to the mini player to add them to the queue, play them instantly or other actions.

Musixmatch lyrics: Marvis integrates with Musixmatch, so the lyrics we see of the songs takes them directly from the service and allows us to follow the lyrics according to the reproduction.

Like other apps, Marvis is limited in some ways by the Apple Music API. For example, it doesn’t allow us to remove songs from the library. In spite of everything, within everything that the Apple Music API allows, Marvis has it. If there’s a catch, it’s that you don’t have an iPad version at the moment.

Marvis is available on the App Store for €4.49. An app that is certainly worth it if you’re tired of the official app or if it bothers you can’t modify or hide sections of it. A touch of fresh air is always welcome.