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How to solve the most common Google Play Music problems

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© nextpit

Google Play Music is a wonderful thing: almost any song ever recorded, streamed instantly to your device no matter where you are. Except when it doesn’t work. If Google Play Music is waving its hands in the air like it just don’t care instead of getting into the groove, the solutions are usually simple. Here are the most common Google Play Music problems and solutions.

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Google Play Music is great, and if it stops working, the solutions are usually simple  / © NextPit

1. Google Play Music is not working

We know, you’ve checked your internet connection. But have you really checked it? Occasionally our phones get in a grumpy mood and although they show cellular or Wi-Fi bars, the connection isn’t actually working anymore. A swift restart solves that one.

The next simple check is to ensure that neither you nor somebody with access to your account is trying to use Google Play Music on another device. Google Play Music is designed to work on one device at a time, so if you’re playing tunes on your PC, for example, you won't be able to play anything on your phone. 

The third thing is also simple: are you using the correct account? You need to be using the same account you used to upload your music or to buy your music. You can check or change the account you're using in the app by tapping Menu > Settings > Account.

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Learn how to fix Google Play Music right here. / © NextPit

Another common issue is when you’ve changed your account password but haven’t updated it in the Google Play Music app. If you can’t remember what your password is, use the Google Account Recovery page.

If you’re trying to access Google Play Music on a computer, there are two other things to try. First, make sure you’re using a modern web browser – the latest Chrome is best, but Google Play Music works happily on Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Edge – and that you haven’t disabled JavaScript in your web browser’s settings.

If that’s OK, make sure you also have the latest version of Adobe’s Flash Player and that it’s enabled: in Chrome, type chrome:plugins in the address bar. If you see 'Enable' under Adobe Flash Player, Flash is currently switched off. Click Enable to turn it on.

Still no joy? Google Play Music has known issues with some third-party plugins, so if you’ve recently added something to your browser try disabling it, restarting the browser and trying Google Play Music again. That advice applies to any in-browser media that’s suddenly stopped working. Privacy protecting or ad-blocking plugins can be particularly bad for it, because their blocking can sometimes be a little overzealous.

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Google Play Music needs you to use the same Google Account you used to upload or buy your music / © NextPit (screenshot)

2. Google Play Music is not uploading

If Google Play Music is not uploading all of your songs, it’s usually for one of three reasons:

The song is in a file format Google Play Music doesn’t support

Google Play Music supports the usual suspects – MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, FLAC and so on – but there are limits, so for example uploading Windows Media WMA files is supported via the Windows version of Music Manager, but not other versions of Music Manager. Some music files, such as WAV, AIFF and RA, can’t be uploaded at all.

Your Google Play Music library is full

Google Play Music supports libraries with up to 50,000 songs. Hit that limit and you can’t upload any more until you clear out some space. Do you really need all those David Hasselhoff b-sides?

You bought the song with a different Google account

You can only upload purchased tracks if you’re using the same account that bought them. If you bought a track using a different account, you’ll need to log in to that account and upload from there.

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There are plenty of other music streaming services and apps / © NextPit 

3. Google Play Music is not syncing

Is there anything more frustrating than having loads of songs and playlists in Google Play Music but not being able to get them on your device? One culprit is a problem with the app’s cache: Google suggests clearing the app data and cache, rebooting your device and then refreshing the library. It can take a while to sync after that, especially if you’re syncing a lot of music, but that usually does the trick. If not, a factory reset and then starting again from scratch can help.

Did you transfer your Play Music settings from another phone? If you did, try deauthorizing the old phone, deleting the app data from your current phone and then signing into Google Play Music on your current phone.

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A quick restart or reinstall can fix a lot of issues / © NextPit

Have you encountered other issues with Google Play Music? Did you find a solution? Let us know below.

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Gary Marshall

Gary Marshall
Freelance writer

Former lion tamer, Girls Aloud backing dancer and habitual liar Gary Marshall has been writing about technology since Google was two guys in a garage. He's written for many fine magazines, newspapers and websites, written a range of how-to-books and a novel, co-written a BBC documentary series and dishes out weekly tech advice on BBC Radio Scotland.

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  • Shahed Samiullah Jun 4, 2022 Link to comment

    Thanks for sharing a good information on "Thousands are Swapping Spotify for Apple Music". I just love this. I use musconv 1 for free to transfer of my playlist.

  • Mr Mike Mar 26, 2020 Link to comment

    Often when I sync an album on my laptop to Google Play Music on my Samsung Galaxy phone, song #1 ends up in a different music folder and the proper folder has all the other songs starting from #2. When I look at the folders on my cell from the laptop, everything looks ok, but it's still messed up on the cell. There's no way to move individual songs around to where they should be. Very annoying.

  • Jemra Mar 22, 2020 Link to comment

    Not uploading music from phone to computer correctly some do some dont. Same format. Sounds like chipmunk speed when played.

  • Letterpressman Feb 20, 2020 Link to comment

    I play music from my own library on an SD card. A song starts to play, plays for 10 second then stops & reverts to my to my home screen. How do I fix?

  • vice86 Feb 4, 2020 Link to comment

    Very annoying issue...say I have Michael Buble - Home from the album It's Time, copy it into another folder, edit the meta data to have its part of a compilation album called "Mellow Tunes"....Google for some reason wont add it because it knows I already have Home on there. VERY annoying. The only way I can get it to show up as the same song in a different album is if I re-encode it. Not sure what Google is seeing in the file to not allow it to uplaod again since its technically a same song but a different album.

  • marco sarli
    • Admin
    Sep 28, 2019 Link to comment

    Not a fan. It works, no big problem but still not too enthusiastic about it. It is a bit vanilla

  • storm Sep 27, 2019 Link to comment

    One of the Google apps I always delete along with Play Books, Movies and Games.

    • 46
      Deactivated Account Sep 28, 2019 Link to comment

      and Chrome

      • storm Sep 28, 2019 Link to comment

        That one is usually part of the OS partition and I can only disable it at best.

  • Mark Vining May 20, 2019 Link to comment

    I transferred my account to a new phone using the cord to plug the two phones together now I cant find songs that were on there before and when I go to add the song to the library again it says it's already in the library but I cant find it and when it transferred the last added list got completely shuffled how can I fix this issue

  • kuchi chris Oct 10, 2018 Link to comment

    Please i need your help. I backed up all my songs on my huawei honor 3c lite to my google account and they're all on my google play music. But i just recently bought a tecno camon x and i can't get my songs on the google play music. I don't know how to add this phone as a device on the google play music on the old phone and i can't even find the my devices icon on the google play music on the new phone. I just want all my songs on the new phone and I don't know what to do.

  • Ima Notreal Oct 20, 2017 Link to comment

    My JVC car stereo is supposed to automatically play music when I'm driving, but occasionally doesn't. Finally traced this intermittent issue to my phone's volume and a setting under Sounds and Vibration - Volume. To find it on my Galaxy 7, I have to click on the three dots in the upper left and select Media volume limiter. Paradoxically, setting the limiter to ON turns OFF the warning about loud noises causing hearing issues. When my phone's volume exceeded the default threshold, a screen would pop up warning me. No music would play until I responded to the popup. Since I was driving, I didn't see it. Now with the limiter turned ON and it set where I want it (all the way up), I no longer had this issue.

  • Mike Jun 27, 2017 Link to comment

    I've got a problem with Sync - my online library contains 604 songs - all uploaded over the years from various PCs. My device currently has only 16 tracks - these were copied to my SD card directly from the PC using a USB cable, these 16 songs are not in the library.

    I've cleared the cache in the app - I've cleared data and cache from app management, I've refreshed under account in the app too, nothing has an effect.

    How can I get the 604 songs from the library to sync down to the device?

  • DKirk Stephens Jan 1, 2017 Link to comment

    my music is on my Samsung S6 in "Music" version 16.1, Verizon. I can see All my songs in Google Play Music. But when I go to cast them on Google Cast. They will not play. there is a popup that tells me to download from my computer. The songs are on my phone. I've tried making Google Play Music my default and I can't.

    • Nick Segarra (soren426) Jan 12, 2017 Link to comment

      If it's music you downloaded from the internet on to the phone, then you'll have to move those files from your phone to your pc, go to play music in your browser and click upload to sync the music to your account . Afterwards go to settings and tap refresh and you should be able to cast the music.

  • Gian Carlo Oct 29, 2016 Link to comment

    I've uploaded songs from iTunes but some where organized and labeled wrong. I corrected them on my laptop but when I use Google play music on my phone it stills has them in wrong places

  • Lori Evans Oct 28, 2016 Link to comment

    I've downloaded my iTunes music to Google Play but the songs only show up in the not downloaded area. Does that mean I have to buy the song again from Google to get it to play without an internet connection?

  • Mickey Maus Oct 14, 2016 Link to comment

    I see your request for comments & questions and I see questions - some a year old - with no answers or replies. Anyway, on my external memory card in my Android phone, I loaded lots of my personal, ripped MP3s. I can't get Google Play Music to find the MP3s. I have run ScanMediaPlz to force Android to discover all media but no help. I can use File Explorer to find the music and then use Google Play to play a track, but Play doesn't remember or catalogue the track.

    How can I get play to find my albums anywhete/everywhere on my phone?

  • Skylar McCullough Oct 9, 2016 Link to comment

    I've been using Google Play Music for about a year now. But all of a sudden I can't add any more music to my main Playlist. I'll add it and it says added 1 song to play list. But then I go in and it'll show up for a second then disappear. My Playlist is 8GB worth of music but well below the 50k songs limit mentioned in the article. I even tried clearing the cache and deleting some songs from the Playlist, but it still won't let me add any new songs. Any suggestions?

    • Kyle Bang Oct 14, 2016 Link to comment

      I've had the same problem for a long time now, and it seems to happen because Google Music does not recognize the extension even if you have it installed. I noticed when downloading a song, it gives the message stating that if I use the extension, there is no limit to the amount of times you can download, and asks if I'd like to install, even though I have it already. It's a really shitty workaround, but uninstalling the chrome Google Music extension and re-downloading every time seems to fix the problem for both uploading and downloading. Google seriously needs to work out a lot of flaws with their music.

    • Nick Segarra (soren426) Jan 12, 2017 Link to comment

      Contact support

  • Mislav Obranic Aug 30, 2016 Link to comment

    I have problem with subscription.
    When i choose credit card it starts from begining. Endless loop.
    No error message.

    • Thomas Oct 9, 2016 Link to comment

      Did you ever resolve the problem? I have the same issue, and haven't been able to solve it...

  • Samantha Grover Jul 19, 2016 Link to comment

    My problem is I downloaded a music file from my computer. It is showing up in the music file on the computer, but can't access it on google play. When I try to move the little bar to "download" only it won't let me do that. It just has the option to subscribe now.

  • Dale Blaess Jul 15, 2016 Link to comment

    I have it on my phone but 6 out of 9 of my playlists have nothing on it. When I go into it on my computer, they are all there.

  • Jayne Burkinshaw Jun 15, 2016 Link to comment

    I have about 4000 songs in iTunes and I'm attempting to upload them on the PC to google play music. So far it has taken around 12 hours to upload about half of them. I used the auto feature to select music from files. I can stream TV without an issue on my wifi connection and don't have speed issues in any way so this seems ridiculous. Any advice welcome.

    • Lori Evans Oct 28, 2016 Link to comment

      It's taking me over two hours to download 57 songs, and they're not done yet, so I can only imagine how long it would take to upload 4000 songs. Does seem like an awfully long time!

  • richard rees May 17, 2016 Link to comment

    My problem is when I download an album it will not play unless I delete the album

  • Dan Murphy Apr 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Some of the songs I have on Play have been changed by Google. Ex. Yellowcard's Ocean Avenue & Metro Station's Shake It. Both of these songs were originally purchased on iTunes downloaded to my computer and imported to Google Play along with approx. 40 other songs. Within the last 6 months both of these songs have changed - Ocean Avenue is now the acoustic version & Shake It is now like a slower remix version. Why is Google changing my songs? I have called Google and informed them about this and was told Google doesn't change music like even after I told them the acoustic version of Ocean Avenue was not released until the 10 year anniversary of the original release which was in 2003. I purchased the original version in 2005 with a gift card I received just before my wedding so it would be impossible for me to have. Any help with this would be appreciated because I don't want Google just changing versions of songs that I have purchased.

    • Nick Segarra (soren426) Jan 12, 2017 Link to comment

      I advise just redoing the port of the song and congrats to the free song

  • Paul Naylor Mar 21, 2016 Link to comment

    possibly a problem with copyright etc i bought now 93 recently and i tried to rip it on to my laptop it plays fine on the laptop i synced it to my device its sounds all muffled and cant hear the tracks clearly at all if i want to use this album on my device i am now going to have to buy it again from google play store

  • Christina Stallings Mar 8, 2016 Link to comment

    I've always had this problem. I have to manually forward to the next song every time. Otherwise, it just plays the same song over and over. I can't believe this is right. When one song is finished, it should move to the next song. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

    • Peter L. Mar 8, 2016 Link to comment

      This sounds almost exactly what eventually happened with mine. The only way I managed to fix it (after going to the length of paying for another music player) was to start the free trial of Google Play Music. The moment I did, it started working correctly and has continued to, even though I have not now gone on to the paid version. Good luck with it though.

    • Ben Vander Ark Oct 28, 2016 Link to comment

      I had this problem and found that I had to go up above the list of songs in my playlist and tap the arrow. This should play the playlist from the start. I hope this helps. It is kinda of simple, but poor design and not very user friendly. If you ask me.

    • Nick Segarra (soren426) Jan 12, 2017 Link to comment

      Check if loop is on or not

  • Peter L. Nov 20, 2015 Link to comment

    My Google Play Music updated (20 Nov 2015) and now doesn't work... It presents me with a page with "Ways to play" and nothing else. Doesn't let me search for music, won't play music when I navigate to it in the file manager, despite it being the default player. Have cleared the cache, cleared the data, uninstalled, reinstalled, restarted numerous times.

  • Moises Glz Nov 2, 2015 Link to comment

    I download my songs on my mobile and plays everything right, but the function "random mix" never works, it sends a error message like "mix is not available", what am I doing bad? is the app working bas? what do I have to do? thanks and I hope you can help me...

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