GOOGLE HAS ANNOUNCED the closure of its Artist Hub, designed to give easy access to Google Play Music for smaller labels and unsigned artists.
The news is the first hint that we're reaching end game for Play Music. The launch of YouTube Music in late 2017 was meant to be a warning shot that it would eventually supercede the previous music store, but the switch has been a long time coming as Google seems to be struggling to offer feature parity between the two services.
Most notably, existing MP3 purchases from Google Play Music cannot currently be accessed and downloaded in YouTube Music, but there are other bits too that have been coming along in dribs and drabs.
Users of Artist Hub received an email warning them that from the end of this month all of their content will be removed. As such, from this point on, they will be required to re-upload it via a third-party distributor.
YouTube has an equivalent programme, YouTube For Artists, and Google is encouraging people to sign up for that, but there is no migration programme because that would actually be sensible and courteous.
Although we knew this was coming at some point, the fact that the first victims are smaller artists is somewhat galling. Additionally, the fact that hundreds of thousands of songs will no longer be available on Google Play Music but won't be automatically available on YouTube Music is a kick in the teeth for artists and subscribers alike.
As we reported yesterday, streaming has hit almost 50 per cent of global music revenue and it seems likely that YouTube Music will only ever have a streaming focus. That gives rise to the question of what will become not only of purchases but also the 50,000 song upload locker that Play Music currently offers.
With Microsoft closing its e-book store this week and vowing to delete user libraries with no migration, the transience of services from the tech giants is becoming something of a worry.
Our advice would be, if you have the means, back everything up locally. We're starting to see that clouds come and clouds go. μ
'Some of us like the misery'
That'll surely affect its credit score