Like it or not, Google Play Music is on the way out, with YouTube Music becoming Google’s only music streaming service. To help match Google Play Music’s capabilities, YouTube Music’s free tier can now cast uploaded music to smart speakers.
One of the biggest-selling features of Google Play Music, since its launch, was the ability to upload your own MP3 files and listen to that library of songs from anywhere. This allowed you to buy songs from just about anywhere and listen to them on your phone.
This cloud library was one of the biggest blockers for Google to be able to shut down Play Music, as many people spent years building their library. Earlier this year, we finally gained the ability to transfer Play Music songs into our YouTube Music libraries automatically, seemingly removing the final blocker.
As this is your own music, you were supposed to be able to listen without the usual restrictions of YouTube Music’s free tier, which doesn’t let you lock your phone or navigate away from the app. However, it was quickly noticed, especially by folks like Ars Technica‘s Ron Amadeo, that the YouTube Music app was unable to cast your songs to smart speakers without a paid subscription. This was most likely because YouTube Music’s free tier was built around video ads, not audio-only ones.
As originally spotted in progress by our APK Insight team and tipped to us this afternoon, the YouTube Music app on both Android and iOS now allows you to cast your uploaded music to any smart speaker in your home.
How it works is that smart speakers now appear in the list of Cast devices regardless of whether you’re free or Premium. However, if you’re listening to one of YouTube Music’s albums/playlists, you’ll be told you can only cast uploaded music for free. Similarly, if you have a queue of songs that includes a mixture of YouTube Music tracks and uploaded ones, you’ll be warned that the YouTube Music tracks will be removed from the queue if you continue with casting.
All of that said, if you simply open the YouTube Music app and start listening to your library of uploads, the cast experience works smoothly, exactly the way you’d hope.
As can sometimes be the case with new features in Google apps, it’s possible that YouTube Music’s ability to cast uploaded songs for free is only just beginning to roll out. Let us know in the comments if it works on your end.
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