Here’s are all the features YouTube Music is still missing
Google’s newest music service may be shiny and new, but it’s still quite lacking.
Youtube Music is a hybrid music service with a lot of promise and an unparalleled library to tap into. Unfortunately, all that potential is held down by how many things — including very, very basic things — the service and its apps are still missing. YouTube Music is already working on some of the items on this list, and hopefully we’ll be able to check off most of these items in the coming months.
In the meantime, if you’re waiting for YouTube Music to improve before you give it a proper shot, bookmark this article. We’ll update it as the service continues to expand and improve.
- Better audio quality — YouTube Music is currently streaming at the video equivalent of 128 kbps, and while that’s enough to listen to in the car or a crowded mall, audio quality is one of the most basic features of a music service. They don’t need to get the ultra-high quality 1411kps that Tidal and Deezer offer, but most of YouTube Music’s competitors offer 320 kbps streaming. YouTube Music needs to at least match that.
- “Fill screen” for video mode — YouTube has allowed users of extra-tall screens to zoom videos in and get rid of letterboxed gaps for years. That needs to come to YouTube Music, especially for free users who can only use Video mode.
- Fully functioning Google Cast integration — YouTube Music is a Google music service and has been one of the four services to integrate with Google Home from day one. That it still cannot cast properly is a travesty. Repeat and shuffle do not work while casting, and play order can randomly change when you begin casting a queue.
- A block button — Thumbing down individual songs is not enough. Users need the ability to block an album or an artist on YouTube Music. It will help improve algorithms much faster and help users stop going “God, stop suggesting Chris Brown!”
- Gapless playback or crossfade — Gapless playback is something that most music services struggle with, especially on Android, but now that YouTube Music is chock full of gapless albums, it needs gapless playback. Crossfade would be even better, but gapless playback is required.
- Home screen widget — Third party music widgets can only take us so far, and YouTube Music needs a home screen widget to go with background playback mode.
- Library and playlist sorting — Currently, there is only one way to view any section of your library on YouTube Music: by date added/modified. At the very least, YouTube Music needs an alphanumeric sorting option, and YouTube has confirmed that it is in the works: “We’ll be adding sorting options by at least alphabetical, plus in the future, we will allow users to restrict search to only items in their library.”
- Liked songs, Vol. 2 — All playlists in YouTube and YouTube Music are limited to 5,000 songs. Currently, once you like more than 5,000 songs, you’ll no longer be able to see and manage some of the older songs you liked in Liked Songs. If YouTube Music instead split at 5,000 songs into a Liked songs, Vol. 2, it could help make Liked songs more manageable.
- Shuffle All songs in your library — This is one of the most basic music service functions out there, and on YouTube Music, about the only way to do it is to add every song, album, and playlist to one playlist and shuffle it
- Station management — Once a station slips out of Recently played, the only way to revive it is to search for that exact station again or recreate it from whatever song or album it is based on. Adding a Stations section in Library will allow users to better find and patronize YouTube Music many radio stations instead of always defaulting users to Your mixtape.
- Non-artist user pages — We subscribe to plenty of artists in YouTube Music, but there are a lot of non-artist YouTubers that it’d be great to subscribe to in YouTube, and YouTube agrees: “Yes, we plan to enable non-artist channels to both be visible and able to be subscribed to in the future.”
- Fix search — Many times when looking for an album, you won’t see the album in Album search results, but songs from the album will appear in Song search results. YouTube Music also needs to bring back the official and fan badges in Video search results and needs to better distinguish between international versions of albums that are available in many languages like soundtracks.
- Seasonal awareness — Please stop putting Christmas music in Your mixtape and Offline mixtape in June. I only liked Baby It’s Cold Outside because I was building my library!
- Subscriptions and Genres tabs — Hotlist isn’t that hot unless you’re into a few specific genres, but a Genrestab would allow users of all tastes to find more music they like. YouTube Music also needs to steal the Subscriptions tab from big brother YouTube.
- Play purchased YouTube content — You can buy musicals, musical shorts, and concerts on YouTube via Google Play Movies, but that musical content is blocked from YouTube Music and blocked from background playback in both YouTube apps. Let us listen to that sick Les Mis concert from 2010 with the screen off and add it into our Ultimate Musicals Mixtape.
- Choose your downloads location — This is in the works, but until SD card users might not be able to see how much space their downloads take up.
- Ask every time on download quality — It’d be nice to download special videos here and there with video while keeping more pedestrian music videos audio only.
- Cache while streaming — Cache while streaming is a good way to help build up the number of songs you can hear offline without going through and manually downloading a bunch of albums or playlists. YouTube Music needs to steal it from Google Play Music as soon as possible.
- Shuffle all downloaded content — The most useful part of Google Play Music’s Downloaded Only Mode is that Shuffle button it puts at the top of the Home page. YouTube Music needs to steal that button, but could also stand to steal the rest of Downloaded Only mode so that the Home page is still useful when you’re offline.
- Prefer downloaded to streaming — If you download an album/playlist on YouTube Music and start playing it outside the Downloads section of Library, it will stream that music instead of playing the downloaded copy. Once you go offline, it will also stop your music and make you restart your album or queue from the Downloads section.
- Better offline mode — YouTube Music needs a dedicated offline mode that extends beyond the Downloads section, because you can’t even look at the Library tab or Recently played when you’re offline.
- Autoplay toggle in Settings — YouTube proper has an Autoplay section in Settings, and YouTube Music needs that, too. Currently, you have to turn off Autoplay from an album or playlist queue that does not have repeat turned on.
- Lyrics integration — If Google can serve up Baby Got Back’s YouTube video with the lyrics below it in Google Search, it can serve up Lyrics in YouTube Music, too, whether what you’re watching is a lyric video or not. This especially needs to happen when you’re casting YouTube Music to a screen; Spotify does this beautifully and YouTube could do it better.
- Audio only mode on web — YouTube Music’s now playing interface on desktop is beautiful. Let users see the album art nice and big without having to minimize the player to avoid distracting music videos while working.
- Casting on web — The only way to cast YouTube Music through its website is to cast the whole tab in Chrome, and however broken casting YouTube Music is, web users need access to it, too.
- Media key support on web — YouTube Music currently supports very few keyboard shortcuts, even compared to the main YouTube site, and you currently cannot use the media keys on most laptops or keyboards.
- Android Auto integration — It is hard to understate how important being able to control YouTube Music in the car is. Android Auto support should not be difficult for Google to implement in YouTube Music, and it is essential.
What else do you feel is missing from YouTube Music? What are you waiting for them to add before you make the switch? Tell us in the comments!