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.

Deals

Amazon slashes prices on Echo devices that play Alexa’s sweetest-sounding music

Amazon slashed prices on Alexa-controlled Echo devices with the best music sound quality. All Alexa smart speakers stream music, but some sound better than others. Save on Echo Plus and the Echo Sub bundled with Echo and Echo Plus speakers.
Music

The best new music this week: Jenny Lewis, American Football, and much more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week, we have new music from Jenny Lewis, Andrew Bird, American Football, Avey Tare, Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, and more.
Movies & TV

Bill and Ted 3 finally faces the music once summer 2020 arrives

Wyld Stallyns Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves travel to the famed Hollywood Bowl to make a big announcement: Bill and Ted 3: Face the Music will begin filming very soon and it has a release date locked in.
Home Theater

Pandora now lets you mess with the secret sauce for its music playlists

Pandora introduced a new feature called Modes, allowing subscribers to pick between six different algorithms that determine what the popular music streaming service will decide to play.
Wearables

Fossil made a smartwatch in 2004, and it’s part of a new brand retrospective

Fossil has been making watches for 35 years, and to celebrate the anniversary, it has a new retrospective exhibit complete with the first smartwatch it made — the Wrist Net watch from 2004.
Wearables

Fossil is working on a smartwatch with BMW, and it’s coming next year

Fossil, the watch company that makes smartwatches under its own name and partners with other major brands too, intends to launch a smartwatch with car manufacturer BMW in the future.
Mobile

Diesel’s denim-inspired smartwatch straps are a casual, colorful must-own

Diesel will release two new versions of the On Full Guard 2.5 smartwatch later this year, with seriously cool, denim-inspired straps in classic Diesel colors. We tried them on at the Baselworld 2019 show.
Mobile

The Moto G7 Power, with its massive battery, is now available for purchase

After a number of leaks and rumors, the Motorola Moto G7, Moto G7 Play, and Moto G7 Power are finally here. The devices represent quite a spec bump over the previous-generation Moto G6 phones, yet still come at a reasonable price.
Mobile

Got gadgets galore? Keep them charged up with the 10 best USB-C cables

We're glad to see that USB-C is quickly becoming the norm. That's why we've rounded up some of the better USB-C cables on the market, whether you're looking to charge or sync your smartphone. We've got USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A.
Mobile

5G's arrival is transforming tech. Here's everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.
Mobile

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.
Mobile

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.
Wearables

Tag Heuer’s Golf Edition smartwatch is a lot more than just a flash of new color

Tag Heuer's Golf Edition Connected Modular 45 smartwatch has a lot more going for it than just a flashy new color scheme. From the titanium body and black PVD coating to the new Golf app, this is a true special edition.