Google Play Music Basic Question
May 10, 2017 7:02 AM   Subscribe

New to Google Play Music and trying to figure out the difference between "adding to my library" vs "downloading".

Greetings all - I am new to the subscription version of Google Play Music (I have used Songza and the free version for a little while for the radio stations, etc) and liked it much better than the other ones that I have used (Spotfy etc).

Anyway, I recently purchased a paid subscription and want to learn more about the inner workings, etc. The biggest question I have is the difference between 'adding to my library' vs. 'downloading' a song/album.

Based on simply the description, I am guessing that 'adding to a library'' means just that (adding a song/album to my library) and downloading an album/song means that it gets downloaded (I am assuming to a play other than my Library) so I can listen to it offline?

Is this the case? I really want songs to be placed somewhere (library? downloaded?) so I can listen to them while driving or out for a walk when there is no wifi. So should I be downloading all songs/albums I want? Or adding them to my Library? Or both?

The reason why I ask is that I think I have been doing both and its confusing. I noticed that I downloaded an album (I think...or maybe I just added it to my library) and I no longer wanted the Album to be downloaded (so I removed it), but all of the songs are still in my "song" list.

I guess I am just a bit confused. Does anyone have a quick and short answer to this so I will know what to do moving forward? Thanks in advance!
posted by dbirchum to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: They're separate operations.

Adding to your library just puts the song/album in the listings for "Library" so that they're more immediately accessible than searching each time.

Downloading an album will store a local copy of it on your device so you can play it offline, or while walking around without using up mobile data.

If I recall, you can't download something unless it's been added to your library. You can delete a download, and it will stay in your library. If you remove it from your library, I don't think it automatically deletes the downloaded files. You have to do that separately. Could be wrong about that.

Sometimes Google Music will download songs you play a lot and cache them locally without you having to ask.
posted by dis_integration at 7:09 AM on May 10, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: "you can't download something unless it's been added to your library"

Not really--you can go to any random song, album, or playlist, choose "download", and it'll download. (Uh, I think it may be true that that also adds it to your library, but anyway there's no need to do that as a separate step.)

I think the "library" is more like a collection of bookmarks or favorites. No connection with whether they're downloaded or not.

Also, note that once you ask it to download a playlist, it will also automatically download anything you add to that playlist later, as long as the playlist is still marked as downloaded. So, for example, it can be handy to make a "music for driving" playlist, download it, and add to it whenever you run across a good driving song; no need for a separate download step.

If you want to see just the things you've downloaded, there's a "downloaded only" slider under the menu, useful in situations where you have data service but it's slow or expensive to actually use.
posted by floppyroofing at 8:18 AM on May 10, 2017

Clicking download will download it to your device (for offline playback) AND ALSO add it to your library if it is not there already (so you would see it in the web interface in your library).

To save data you can put your app into "Downloaded only" mode -> that's the point of downloading.
posted by czytm at 11:21 AM on May 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

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