Google Music: What Not to Do

I was mildly interested in the launch of Google Music as a platform to purchase music, with some integration into the Android platform. From the Google Music launch page, Google promises that you can both stream, as well as download content to both your computer and your Android devices. I figured to try it out with my wife’s purchase and see what it was made of.

Unfortunately, the launch page introduction was the last cool thing we saw of this product. We made our purchase quickly enough, but then we were stumped. The music would play in the browser, but the launch page promised we could download the music to our computer. After clicking every button in the UI, we resorted to doing a search for how to download music. Google Music Manager (no direct link) kept coming up as the way to download our music. Not having been prompted to install this utility during our checkout process, we then had to hunt it down.

I found it on a different computer while searching at, as I had yet to register for an account. My wife already made a purchase, so her default page had been replaced with her music library. There is seemingly no link to the Download Manager once your first purchase is made.

I decided to send the link the file from my computer, however Gmail will not allow attaching .exe files. I even tried to .zip it, but it still informed me that it detected an .exe file. That is a different story however…

So finally, I got the file to my wife’s computer, and we install the application, thinking we are in the home stretch. It turns out that in order to DOWNLOAD your music, you first have to UPLOAD your personal music library. This step is not optional. It cannot be skipped, and you cannot access your downloaded content until you have upload your personal music. My wife even canceled at the prompt that asked her if she wanted to upload, and it started the process anyway, leaving us to force close the application.

After all this, we were left with the only solution of downloading the album: TRACK. BY. TRACK. You only get two downloads per purchase, so we have burned through half of them already. One of the tracks got “stuck” during download, so we crossed our fingers that the last download would be successful. Fortunately it was.

So my question to you Google, is why make the process for downloading our music purchases so painful? I am sure millions of people helped beta test this product, and I don’t believe that I am the first to notice that downloading content is far from easy. What is to be gained by making the process so difficult then? Are you pushing a cloud service that not every wants? This seems to be a copy from Amazon’s playbook, however Google has failed to execute on the critical piece – a solid way to download your purchase, a la Amazon MP3 downloader.

I think I will be directing future purchases to Amazon’s music store until Google makes some corrections.



  1. I’ve been using Google Music for the past couple months as a replacement to Amazon’s music hosting. I like that it doesn’t sign me out as often as Amazon.

    However, I don’t buy any music from Google. I get all my (downloadable) music from Amazon, Beatport, and Juno Download. No DRM. Just plain old MP3s/WAVs/FLACs.


  2. I’m probably not as much a music nut as you, but between Satellite Radio and Pandora I don’t download or buy any music these days.


  3. You should at least buy the stuff you like. There isn’t a whole lot of money in it for independent artists. They could use the support.


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