While Google has said that YouTube Music and Google Play Music will soon merge, that doesn’t mean Google isn’t working on improving YouTube Music in the meantime. In fact, the company just launched a major upgrade to YouTube Music, now allowing users to download songs, albums, and playlists for offline listening.
Now, this isn’t the first time users have been able to download music on YouTube Music, but it is a serious improvement for ease of use and convenience. Previously, you could download music through the offline mixtape feature, which was automatically created based on your listening history — that meant you had little control over the specific songs that were downloaded.
Saving music to listen to offline is pretty easy to do. Simply tap on the menu icon next to a song, album, or playlist, then hit “Save Offline.” You’ll get a notification asking if you want to save the audio or video, and if you want to save the video you can choose between SD or HD. On iOS things are even easier — simply swipe the song, album, or playlist left, then tap the offline button. Then, to access your offline music, tap on your profile photo and hit the “Offline” button.
It’s a nice feature — but one that should have been included before. It also makes the service even more similar to Google Play Music. Google confirmed that the two would be merging in a report from The Verge, which followed a report from February that noted that the two teams behind the services had been combined. We don’t yet know exactly when the two will combine — but moves like this suggest that Google is working to make the experience the same across both services before the merge takes place.
It does make sense to combine the services. Subscribing to one automatically gets you a subscription to the other, and combining them will simply make things that much easier for users. It’s also not certain yet how the merger will be handled — it’s possible YouTube Music could simply be absorbed into Google Play Music, or vice versa. Or, it is also possible that a totally new service will be created to house the features of both.