When it comes to storing your tunes in the cloud and accessing them anywhere, it’s hard to find a service that offers a better deal than Google’s Play Music. For absolutely no charge, users can store up to 20,000 songs in a cloud locker and access that music on any PC or internet connected device. The only problem? Google has neglected to bring a native app to the iPhone and iPad.
Sure, iTunes Match offers similar functionality, but it will set you back $25 a year. Ain’t nobody got time for that. So, without further delay, here are a few alternatives to an official Play Music app that aim to provide the same experience by tying directly into your Google account.
You want a Play Music experience built for the iOS? Look no further than gMusic. The self-proclaimed best-selling Google Music app for iPhone, gMusic aims to provide users with a seamless link to their library of tunes stored in the cloud while retaining a familiar iOS aesthetic. The app itself is modeled after the standard iPhone and iPad music player, but the music streams direct from Google’s servers.
With gMusic, you can expect the following features and more:
- AirPlay support
- Lockscreen integration
- 10-band EQ
- Metadata editing
- Offline mode
But it gets even better. gMusic will also support Google’s new streaming radio option Play Music All Access (a subscription service priced at $9.99/month). Other apps have yet to add this functionality, and that option alone makes it our top pick as a Play Music alternative. One minor drawback is the app’s $1.99 price tag, but it’s well worth the price of admission if you consider yourself a heavy Google Music user. [Download from iTunes]
Another fine Google Music alternative, GoMusic offers a straightforward approach to accessing your music stored in the cloud. The app’s description boasts the ability to stream music for up to 40 hours over 3G (though we didn’t attempt to verify this claim). Again, the aesthetic stays fairly true to iOS (taking a page from iTunes) and puts album artwork front and center.
GoMusic offers the following features plus more:
- High definition artwork displayed on the lockscreen
- Global search
- Create/modify/delete playlists
- Offline mode
GoMusic is fine for anyone simply looking to jump right into streaming their tracks from the cloud, but it doesn’t offer much in the way of advanced features. Still, at $0.99 it strikes a balance between premium pricing and pro power. A major drawback yet to be addressed is access to Play Music All Access. [Download from iTunes]
Access Google Music in the Browser
Here’s a secret: go to http://music.google.com in Safari (or your preferred mobile browser). Voila, Play Music on your iPhone, free of charge. If you just can’t bring yourself to spend money on an app built for iOS, you can get basic access to your Google Music library direct in the mobile browser. The presentation mirrors the Android app, but you don’t get much beside basic music playback.
What you get when accessing Google Play Music in the browser:
- Access to your entire library of uploaded music
- Music divided by artist, albums, song, genre, or playlist
However, you don’t get enhanced features such as the ability to edit and create new playlists, lockscreen controls, offline playback, or AirPlay support (and All Access streaming radio is absent, as of now). Accessing Google Play Music in the browser, however, is a fine solution for those that only need to access the cloud to pull down those rarely listened to tracks that otherwise wouldn’t be on your phone. Power users of Play Music are better served with a paid third-party app.
Of course, there a number of other options available at varying levels of price and functionality, from free apps that serve merely as wrappers to Google’s web presentation of Play Music to more expensive offerings that incorporate other music services. It’s also not out of the question for Google to offer a first-party app down the road. For now, though, the options presented above are as good a place as any to start the search for the perfect Play Music replacement.