Google Music Manager: A frustrating way to download your music library

google-music-download-purchased-songs

Google Music users, you can breathe a slight sigh of relief, but don’t get too excited. Google has finally enabled a way for you to retrieve the music you upload to its new music storage locker service. The announcement was made on the official Google+ page for Android and verified by a new help article on the Android Market Web site

Using the Windows or Mac desktop PC client, you can now click one of two options. You can “Download my library” or “Download purchased music.” One of these options presumably downloads only the music you purchased from Google, while the other lets you download all of the music tracks that you have personally uploaded to the service.

A confused cloud

After hearing this news, I tried out the updated app on my Windows 7 machine this morning to mixed results. While it definitely seems to work (it downloads tracks), Google’s new download feature is extremely limited in functionality and its ability to detect which songs are purchased is completely broken. I tried to download only my “purchased music,” thinking that there would be nothing in there except for the few free songs I’ve downloaded on Google Music, but to my surprise, Google Music believes that it now owns a hefty portion of my music library. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of tracks that were ripped from CDs, purchased on Amazon MP3, and given to me by friends are now all labeled as Google Music purchases for no good reason. If this wasn’t frustrating enough, to download music, you can only download all of it. For me, that means I have to download all 7,900 songs I’ve uploaded to Google Music.

There are options to download tracks from http://music.google.com, but you can only download each song or album two times. Yep, two (2) times…forever. If your computer is acting up and you don’t finish a download, well, too bad; you’ll have to use your last download to get your songs. Google announced this limitation for music purchased through Google, but it seems to apply to all music, even the music that you own and have uploaded to Google Music.

google-music-1-download-remaining

This album (above) was purchased and downloaded from AmazonMP3, and uploaded to Google Music. Google has no ownership of it, yet I am only allowed to download it once. If you download an album, but have already downloaded one of the songs on that album twice, that song will be skipped and you will be prompted to use the Music Manager to get the song. That means you’ll have to download thousands of items to get a single song. The Manager does have one good feature: You can choose to download only the songs that were added since your last mass download. This is useful, but we hope Google adds an auto-download feature that automatically downloads tracks to a PC when it’s added to Google Music. Moreover, it should be possible to upload tracks from an Android phone or tablet. 

On top of these troubles, Google’s Music Manager uploading has not operated well since launch. The software is a bandwidth hog, even when its upload speeds are dialed down. It seems to upload incredibly slowly, no matter what you do. I’ve been uploading my collection off and on since the service launched in June 2011, and have still only uploaded about 7,900 songs out of 12,000+. I don’t have a particularly slow connection either. I imagine if I let Google Music run straight and kept my computer on at night, it might take about a month to upload my tracks, maybe longer. 

Certain track features, like song ratings (1-5 stars) are not pulled in and converted into Google’s Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down system either, meaning hardcore users will have to re-rank their music. 

Android pinning problems

google-music-android-pinning-for-offlineI realize that this is a free service, and that Google has to deal with a lot of backward thinking music labels, but these limitations are confusing. Music labels may have good reason to force users onto a PC before they can download tracks, but it’s harmful to the entire experience. You cannot download unrestricted Google Music songs to an Android device either. You can choose to “Pin for offline” any album, artist, or track, but those songs are not available outside of Google Music and there is no download dialog for them, so you don’t know if they are actually “pinned” to your phone or not.

To touch on one last issue, the interface of the Google Music app for Android is improved with Android 4.0, but it’s still quite unpolished when compared to the included music players in Windows Phone and iPhone.

Why not charge?

As someone hunting for a cloud music solution, I’d almost prefer that Google offer a paid option for Google Music, which would give me full access to all of my tracks and the freedom to download them where I please, with the option to specify how the files are formatted and such. But for now, I sit and wait. 

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.

Mobile

New Tidal app will bring a wave of music to your Samsung smartwatch

Tidal fans now have another way to enjoy their music collection. The Tidal app is coming to Samsung wearables, including the Samsung Galaxy Watch, Gear Sport, and more. Tidal will also be bringing its wearable app to other devices.
Music

The best new music this week: Charles Bradley, Muse, and more

Are you looking for the best new music? Each week, we scour the internet to find the most compelling new releases just for you. On tap this week: Charles Bradley, J Mascis, Muse, and Smino.
Gaming

Yo Mozart! Ready to play music? Try our 'Fortnite' sheet music challenge guide

The Fortnite season 6 week 6 challenges have arrived in Battle Royale. This week, the hottest and hardest challenge around is the Fortnite sheet music one. This challenge is split up into multiple stages with four parts in total. Our guide…
Computing

Download music from YouTube in seconds with these great tools

Ripping audio from YouTube has never been easier, but with so many tools out there, which is the best? In this guide, we teach you how to download music from YouTube with a couple of different tools. Just proceed with caution.
Mobile

Google’s storage-management app gets face-lift, is now called ‘Files by Google’

Google has revamped its files management app with a new look and name. Now known as Files by Google, the app received the company's all-white material redesign -- offering the same functionality, but with a cleaner look.
Wearables

Wearable in Google patent will shake, bake, and shine to signal notifications

A new Google patent suggests that Google may be working on getting into the wearable game after all. The patent describes a wearable device that can vibrate, light up, and pulse when notifications arrive.
Product Review

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange contender, but it’s no champion

The HTC U12 Life is a midrange smartphone with a large 6-inch screen, plenty of battery life, and a dual lens camera, but it bears little relation to its bigger sibling. Find out if it’s worth considering in our HTC U12 Life review.
Mobile

Here's a look at what's inside Fossil's Pop-up Shop in New York

Fossil has released its first-ever smartwatch featuring Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100. The Fossil Sport comes packed with a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, NFC, and Google's latest version of Wear OS. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

Just how tough is your phone case? We break down IP ratings, military standards

Almost every manufacturer is packing IP ratings these days, but just what does that mean exactly? We break down the standards behind IP ratings and Military Standards to find out what they really mean.
Mobile

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Mobile

Keep on clicking with the 10 best browsers for Android

Browsing the web on an Android device should not be a pain. Check out our picks for the best browsers for Android, so you can surf the web with greater ease and access a trove of unique features.
Android Army

Android battery life too short? Try using dark mode, Google says

Google confirmed at the 2018 Android Dev Summit that using dark mode will help extend an Android smartphone's battery life. Google also admitted its mistake of pushing for the usage of white in previous Material Design initiatives.
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.