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On the 8th of December 2015 Google Play Music launched in South Africa. I subscribed to the service and I’m ready to share my experience after using it for 2 months now.

Google Play Music Logo
When I read that Google Play Music launched in South Africa I was very eager to get the service for two reasons. Firstly, they had a launch promotion of R49.99/month compared to the R59.99 per month I paid at Deezer. Being a student at Stellenbosch University I have free access to all Google’s websites. That means I can stream as much as I want when accessing Google Play Music from the university’s network at no extra cost in terms of data usage.

What makes Google Play Music a good music streaming service?

  • It gives you access to 35 million songs.
  • You can upload up to 50 000 songs from your computer and stream them using Google Play Music.
  • There’s a free plan available.
  • Download songs to your Android & iOS devices.
  • Stream music from a web browser. This is a feature not currently implemented by Apple Music, one of Google Play Music’s biggest rivals.
  • You can download songs you uploaded to the service as many times as you want.
  • Google recommends songs you may like based on your plays, likes, playlists and more.

What does it cost?

In South Africa there’s currently two plans available. You can either use it for free with ads and limited functionality or pay R59.99 per month for the premium subscription.

So for R59.99/month I can download as many MP3-files as I want?

Not exactly. You can download the music to your mobile device, but it can only be played through the Google Play Music app. You can however buy any song found on Google Play Music from the Google Play Store.

Can I download songs to my Windows computer?

At the moment there’s only a sync client available which allows you to automatically upload music files from your computer. You can also download songs you bought from Google Play to your computer and keep them synced when you buy new ones.

All in all Google Play Music is a great option when compared to rivals like Apple Music, Deezer and local streaming service Simfy. It does however seriously lack a lot of South African music, but if that’s not a problem it’s definitely worth going for. The great thing is that you can give it a try before subscribing.

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© 2020 Jano Barnard