back to article OK, Google. Music in 2019 isn't what it was, but Play nice, will ya?

A bug has music lovers with a Google Play subscription stumped – devices won't cast music from 2019 to connected speakers. Reader Paul Brown owns a Home and several other Google devices including a Pixel phone. The Home speaker won't play music released in 2019, Paul told us. While his Pixel 3 XL will "play anything … you then …

  1. jake Silver badge

    Out of curiosity ...

    ... why do people put up with billion dollar multi-national corporations telling them when, and how, they are allowed to play the music they have bought a license to listen to? If I have a license to listen to a tune, I'm going to listen to it how and when I see fit ... and if somebody tries to block me from doing exactly that, I won't have anything to do with their so-called "service".

    1. Grooke

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      The issue of not really owning music anymore is real, but this case is "just" a technical problem that breaks the communication between two devices in certain cases (though it doesn't excuse the downtime). It's not like when Apple user's couldn't watch their films because Apple stopped the licenses.

      In this case, your argument is akin to saying "If there is any chance my CD could break, preventing me from listening to music I own when I want to, I'll have nothing to do with the whole system".

      Actually, in this case, the CD is fine. You just can't play it on your speakers because the cable between the CD-reader and the speakers is damaged (but the player's built-in speakers still work).

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Out of curiosity ...

        If you had an MP3 or AAC without DRM and set its release date to 2019 in the tags, I bet it wouldn't refuse to play it.

      2. tin 2

        Re: Out of curiosity ...

        But I can go out to the shops and get a new cable. Not wait for Google to decide that they want to fix my cable for me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Out of curiosity ...

          You could get a cable for your phone and plug it into the speakers (assuming amplified) and it would work, as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      It sounds like a bug rather than 'blocking you'. If you buy a licence to anything which requires a digital rather than physical process to use it then there could be bugs that stop you using it.

      On another note, you haven't bought a licence for a specific 'song' or 'album' in this case it was a subscription to their streaming service. And you could still listen to is on your device or headphone or PC, just can't cast it.

    3. DropBear Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      Because there's no essential freedom that most people wouldn't gladly give up for a bit of convenience.

    4. John Lilburne

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      Oddly I have had no issues with any of the CDs I've bought. They all rip properly, they all play over PLEX, off the ipod or whatever other device I upload them to. IOW not a music issue but a googleplex crap issue. You'd have been better off with a Phonograph.

      1. S_W

        Re: Out of curiosity ...

        Are you authorised to transfer the music to a different medium? If, as your choice of language implies, you are in the UK then you do not.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Out of curiosity ...

          " If, as your choice of language implies, you are in the UK"

          I referenced SCOTUS and use the "license" spelling. Hard as it might be for you to believe, there are a lot more square inches of this muddy rock speaking/typing English than the tiny, little UK.

          1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

            Re: Out of curiosity ...

            It may be English spoken in those farflung heathen regions, but not as we know it!

            I've known my American wife for nigh on 17 years now and there are still moments when we gaze in utter bewilderment at the words emitting from each others faces.

    5. Sloppy Crapmonster

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      "why do people put up with billion dollar multi-national corporations telling them when, and how, they are allowed to play the music they have bought a license to listen to?"

      I can't tell if you're joking, but that's literally what a license is -- an agreement that stipulates exactly how you can use the item being licensed.

    6. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      I don't put up with it. Anything with DRM better have a cheap rental price because I don't trust it to work a day later.

      It's the year 2019 and I still encounter a lot of music and movies that are "out of stock" or unavailable. Publishers have some kind of overwhelming greed causing self-inflicted wounds.

    7. DougS Silver badge

      All I know

      Is that I would have saved SO MUCH money during my teenage / college / post-college years when I bought tons of music, first on cassette tape and later on CD if I could have paid $10/month for all the music I wanted!

      If I could have got that deal back then but price was that there would randomly be a few days a month when I couldn't listen to it due to DRM issues, I would have still taken the deal.

    8. Alumoi

      Re: Out of curiosity ...

      ... why do people put up with billion dollar multi-national corporations telling them when, and how, they are allowed to play the music they have bought a license to listen to?

      Hmm, maybe because you bought a licence and not the song?.

      You may want to actually read the licensing terms before paying. You're going to be in for a big surpise: you agree to follow the license and only listen to your tune on approved devices, maybe only in specific countries or only on specific days

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Out of curiosity ...

        That's just it, I did read the license. That's why I don't play that game and only purchase tunes on physical media that I can hold in my hands.

        It's true that I don't own the content of the media, just the media itself. When it wears out, I'll have to buy a new one. That's why I archive all my vinyl and most CDs to half inch tape[0], and then make the actual copy I listen to from that. It's actually quite amazing how big a library you can amass over fifty years using this technique ... and it's a library that I can pass to my next of kin. Before you ask, the old tapes have been archived digitally ... but they sound just fine.

        The recording industry hates this practice, but SCOTUS backs me ...

        [0] That's a dimension, not slang for a cassette.

  2. Christopher Rogers

    Ah so it is a thing! I thought i was losing my mind trying to play the new Weezer album, but instead it was Google losing theirs...

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      You mean they've done a song apart from Buddy Holly?

      1. Mahhn

        #|

        #|

        was their best song :)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: #|

          Hash Pipe, yeah, duna nuna, duna nuna, duna nuna, x100

      2. Christopher Rogers

        Yes and no. Its a new album of cover versions.....

  3. rgd

    slowly forcing us to move to YouTube Music

  4. Ian 7

    All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

    #oldfogey

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      1988? Don't you mean 1588 (with exception of a few interesting composers like Stockhausen and Boulez in the 1960s)

    2. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      I think you mean “before END OF 1988”.

      Wouldn’t want to exclude The Traveling Wilburys, now would we?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      >All the best music was written before 1988 1978 anyway

      FTFY

      the 80s was where the real shite came from and flourished into today, remember the 80s spawned Stock Aitken Waterman and launched the radio career (cough) of Steve Wright*, the biggest player of shite music to walk the Planet. Oh how I miss John Peel.

      *for non Brits, think of the worst wedding DJ you've ever heard who deservedly requires beating up for their playlist.

      1. Nolveys Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

        It used to be that selecting a station on the radio was about finding something I wanted to hear. Now I feel lucky if I find something that doesn't make me want to punch someone in the face.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Terminator

          Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

          For me the things about the current generation of music is the bloody OTT autotune on every song.

          1. ds6 Bronze badge
            Megaphone

            Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

            To all of you: Go find some indie/underground bands and better music services to help you do so. There is plenty of newer and even current-year music that doesn't subscribe to the vapid, autotuning corporate bullshit. Keep in mind the majority of chart-topping music written within the past 10–20 years was written by the same handful of people, usually either Lukasz Gottwald or Max Martin.

            Bandcamp has become a rather nice source for off-the-wall and indie music, and I've found plenty of favorites through the service... And you can download your purchases in FLAC on top of streaming them anywhere, for no extra cost. Qobuz has a really odd-in-a-good-way portfolio with plenty of older music, and also has full high-quality album downloads (even hifi 192kHz FLAC, DSD, DXD, MQA) either discounted or included with a subscription. Soundcloud, while not as "professional" a platform as the previously mentioned services, does hold within it the occasional gem that you won't find anywhere else; lots of self-published, single-artist works of wildly varying genres, unfortunately usually in shite quality despite its potential to be better. There are probably even more good services that I haven't located yet.

            Limiting yourself to one or a selection of genres or periods of music is something I can't understand. While I'll agree the popular stuff from today's generation is overhyped and engineered (and even from some past generations) that doesn't mean there aren't good artists out there anymore... It just makes them harder to find.

            I'm not going to provide any artists or examples of "good music" because the term is incredibly subjective and everyone likes something different, but I absolutely guarantee there is something for everyone in more recent releases, if one looks hard enough.

            1. M.V. Lipvig

              Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

              I dunno, limiting myself to everything made before 1988 means I could listen to music 4 hours a day for the next 50 years and never hear the same song twice. Music has been made ever since man first beat one rock against another and went OOOOK OOOOOK OOK OOK, OOK OOK OOOOOOK OOOK!

              1. ds6 Bronze badge

                Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

                What does caveman music sound like? Is it in FLAC?

                I'd call that an unrealistic expectation; there's a lot of good music before 1988, sure, but I can guarantee there's a lot of objectively and subjectively bad stuff, too. So yes there's plenty of music before 1988 I have in my library, but it's not like I automatically love all music, as I have pretty high standards on my own scale; people chastize me for going from nordic black metal to medieval lute jams to 80's hairband to hurdy gurdy solos to Carpenter Brut and Aphex Twin, but I like each song in my library for a different reason, and each has its own tonal feel to it. I'm open to any genre and any time period, but it has to be good.

                And there's the case of having to select the music... Popular stuff will show up more and make it less straightforward to not "listen to the same song twice" if you're using a streaming service for instance, and if you aren't good luck keeping up with the 4 hours a day tide for the next 50 years! That's a lot of downloads!

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

                  ds6,

                  "... nordic black metal to medieval lute jams to 80's hairband to hurdy gurdy solos to Carpenter Brut and Aphex Twin, but I like each song in my library for a different reason, and each has its own tonal feel to it. I'm open to any genre and any time period, but it has to be good."

                  This ^^^ !!!

                  You seem to have a similar width to your music collection to myself.

                  I will listen to anything once *BUT* it needs to impress or intrigue to be investigated further.

                  I tend to agree with the pre 1988 idea *BUT* there are exceptions. :)

                  Currently I am listening, almost exclusively, to 'Classical' music (in reality *anything* from roughly 1400 to present day, that does not fall into 'Pop' or other 'modern' classifications ).

                  An exception is, I can dive somewhat 'randomly' into 'Jazz' (Early to circa 1960s ..... don't have the ear for much that is 1970s onwards :) )

                  I 'own' my music and create digital versions for convenience which I can 'cast' or whatever from my own kit. The issue with streaming is that your music is not your own and if/when contractual issues arise with the provider you can find your music is no longer available. It has happened in the past and still does.

                  1. ds6 Bronze badge

                    Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

                    The context of the article and comments was more in the vein of streaming, but actually owning copies is definitely the way to go, digital or otherwise. I have always been hesitant of streaming services, not even that they could just poof away your favorite tunes due to licensing or etc. issues, but they usually sound like hot ass rubbing on a piece of sandpaper, to me at least; ever since I bought my first entry-level studio-grade headphones and played some high quality stuff, I haven't been able to go back. I also can't find most of the artists I like on streaming services, either because they're too old or too underground, or sometimes both.

                    Unfortunately a lot of classical music is just too formulaic for my tastes; and not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just it's merely "alright" in terms of how formulaic it is, you know? Like the pop of classical. There are of course beautifully arranged and composed pieces that are truly inspiring that manage to take the formula to new levels, and there are songs that ditch the norm entirely and create something unique—those are my kinds of pieces from the period. Renditions and recordings also make a huge difference, eg. I like Mars, The Bringer of War by one specific US naval band, but I so far don't like any other renditions I've heard. I find the actual sheet music to not be too to my liking, but the naval band played their own arrangement that sounded a lot better to me.

                    I'm terrible with names and I don't have my library handy or else I would give some more specific examples. Well, I can at least give you one of my favorite jazz albums of all time. In many a case I prefer Japanese jazz to its American counterpart.

                    As an aside, a coworker attempted to show me a video where some kid was rapping unintelligably about weed, cars, and women. His stage name started with "Lil ..." and he had multicolored grills. He repeated some of the lyrics a lot, throughout the whole song. Can anyone tell me his name? (PS: this is facetious, but not satirical or in any way untrue; it just so happens that there are multiple possible answers to this question, even if I am only thinking of one in particular.) (No, I did not like the song.) (If it helps to identify it, a tiger appears in some later scenes and the rapper was clearly afraid of it. It was funny.)

      2. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

        Indeed. RIP John Peel.

        And of course, 1978 was the year that the Undertones went mainstream (thanks to JP).

        1. bygjohn

          Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

          Likewise WRT John Peel.

          But 6Music's evening and weekend programming does a similar job (daytime less so), particular favourites being The Freak Zone, Freak Zone Playlist, Don Letts, Tom Ravenscroft (AKA Peel Jr), Iggy Pop, Now Playing, Cerys Matthews, Guy Garvey, plus the 6Music Recommends shows.

          Interestingly (though predictably in the light of other posts here), a lot of the more interesting stuff comes through Bandcamp and Soundcloud, as well as a myriad independent labels. I find it really helpful to be constantly exposed to stuff I haven't heard, new and old.

      3. John Lilburne
        Happy

        Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

        OTOH Jon Balke's Siwan, and Brahem's Astounding Eyes of Rita were 2009.

      4. FozzyBear Silver badge

        Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

        I thought you were setting everyone up for a rick roll.

    4. the Jim bloke Silver badge

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      There is good music, but it wont be anything that is "successful"

      The missus describes it as the Sony Effect, where any artists creativity and quality went to shit as soon as they are signed up by a major label.

      I get my music from bandcamp -unrestricted download in a range of formats, streaming for those weirdos who think thats a valid solution, 80% of money paid going directly to artist, and access to a huge assortment of styles and genres. Only drawback is not much of a 'back catalogue' or older music.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

        artists creativity and quality went to shit as soon as they are signed up by a major label

        .. unless they use the Marillion model - ask the fans to crowdsource the new album (ie - buy the album before it's made and use the funds to actually make the album) and then have a distribution-only contract with a major label.

        Mind you, it helps to have a fairly major[1] fanbase to start with who don't mind putting down £20 in the hope of getting a new album in 6 months. It also helps to have the reputation of producing said albums..

        [1] AKA 'slightly rabid' :-)

    5. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      1977 the best year ever for music.

    6. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: All the best music was written before 1988 anyway

      Oh I don't know - there's been some pretty good Prog music created this century. I can't think of any released in 2019 (so far) though..

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Apple music

    Hate them as much as I do, and being an Android Fanboi, I still have an iTunes account for buying music, because Apple gives me an unencumbered file that plays just fine in whatever software on my Linux box after I copy it from my Windows VM.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Apple music

      And Google do exactly the same. You buy the music you get a DRM free copy of it, even 2019 tunes (I just bought the specials Encore). You also get it cheaper (£5.99) and higher bitrate (320k MP3) from Google than you get from Apple...

      This "news" is all about streaming music, not purchased music

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Apple music

        higher bitrate (320k MP3)

        Bitrate isn't everything - especially as Apple use the demonstrably-superior AAC rather than the shonky old MP3..

        (Actually - I'd challenge anyone to notice the difference on a standard phone/laptop+headphones setup - especially anyone over the age of about 25. Bitrate comparisons are in the league of penis-size measurements..)

  6. M.V. Lipvig
    Coat

    Nice

    A bug with good taste. A bug with great taste would not allow music made after about 1988 to be played.

    Mine's the one that goes with the parachute pants and supermoussed hair...

  7. The Nazz Silver badge

    Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

    Early prediction, not many points, if at all. It's dire. Utterly. Had enough after the first ten seconds but persevered, fool that i am.

    1. David 132 Silver badge

      Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

      Honestly, I feel like you can copy and paste this comment every year from now until the end of time.

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

      "Had enough after the first ten seconds"

      Isn't that true of every song that has ever been entered in the mindless drivel pap contest?

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

        Ahem. ABBA. Waterloo.

        Which either refutes or confirms your point, depending on personal taste.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

          Not only confirms my point, but proves it. ABBA's entire discography is mindless overproduced studio crap for the lowest common denominator. IMO, of course.

          1. ds6 Bronze badge

            Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

            My grandma has ABBA CDs, and right now she's arguing on the phone with my mother about how to use a Chromebook, the simplest and most straightforward laptop on the market today.

            I think there may be some kind of correlation...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

              ds6,

              I think it is most unfair to blame your grandmother or ABBA for the creation of the Chromebook !!!

              There is some chance I may have misunderstood !!!

              :)

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

            Jake,

            Not an ABBA fan but of that generation and over time I have reached the conclusion that it is 'exactly' of its time.

            It is not the worse and equally not the best ....... probably exactly what it was intended to be. !!!

            In terms of the 'contest that shall not be named' ..... it is the best result that could be expected by any country/enterant and equally should not happen again for at least another 50 years IMHO.

            Due to 'Brexit' and the on going fiasco it has engendered, I fully expect nul points to be the 'best' we can hope for !!! :)

          3. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

            Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

            ABBA's entire discography is mindless overproduced studio crap for the lowest common denominator

            Au contraire - it's definately at the intelligent-musician-end of pop. I understand that pop isn't for everyone (and as a lifelong prog fan I'm certainly not a fan of pop) but decrying the talents of Benny and Bjorn just because they had so many hits that they contributed significantly to the GDP of Sweden is (IMHO) a tad snobbish..

            Beside which, which other pop band has a song featuring Cassandra (she of the prophecies that she was cursed that no-one would ever believe)?

    3. the Jim bloke Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

      For some reason, Australia tries to participate/compete in Eurovision.

      I am not the only person who fails to understand why, but its probably something to do with the promoters not being smacked while they were children.

      It might be worthwhile if we could cancel the citizenship and return tickets of our contestants while they were over there, but apparently international law frowns on that

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Re: Thankfully, the bug won't play our (UK) Eurovision entry.

        Australia tries to participate/compete in Eurovision

        That's becuase it's not about being in Europe (after all, Israel isn't) but being a member of the European Broadcasters conglomerate. Which, oddly, Australia is.

        The competition itself has never portrayed itself as as a serious music competition - it's a bit of fun fluff seriously enjoyed by a (mostly gay) audience.

        And a few outliers like myself and my wife.. (I've watched it for years - if only to see how badly we do).

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