iOS to Android Challenge – Music. Failed! [Update: Fixed!]

As a musician and someone who was brought up with music being a major part of my life, with memories of my father being in bands as long as I can remember and going to live shows, also as long as I can remember, making sure the music situation on the is working well is important.

I’ve bounced from streaming music service to other streaming music services over the years.  I started with Spotify, as did most people, and really liked it.  For a short time I moved to Microsoft’s service due to it’s integrations on the Xbox.  Then I moved to Beats which turned into Apple Music, and I’ve been there since.  I also have an Amazon Prime subscription, which has a music component to it, but not full access as that is a separate Amazon service fee.  I listen via Amazon Prime using Alexa devices, but use Apple Music through everything else, including a Sonos setup.

I’ve been thinking about going back to Spotify as it seems to be the most mature service, although Apple Music has advantages as well.  I like Spotify’s community and playlists better, but Apple Music is easy to use and access from all my devices, including the Pixel as there is an app for Apple Music.  I also like some of their exclusive music and videos that aren’t available elsewhere, but other services also have their own exclusives.

The Pixel comes with three months free of Google Play, their streaming service.  That further complicates things.  I’m down to three choices:

  • Stay with Apple Music
  • Move back to Spotify
  • Try out Google Play

For now, I will cross out moving back to Spotify.  If anything such a move would be just to use something different.  The move to the Pixel is different enough at the moment.

I will see how using the Apple Music app for Android goes.  If it’s not great I will give Google Play a shot, and if that isn’t great I will revert to Spotify.

After installing the Apple Music app, I find I cannot log in.  A few searches later I find that Apple IDs with two-factor authentication enabled is not support on the Android Apple Music app, or at least that is how it appears.  Multiple others are posting that they cannot log into the Android app with their two-factor Apple IDs.  This is not cool!  I will see what I can find, until then, I have activated my Google Play 3 month free trial.

As part of the Google Play Music sign-up you pick some genres you like and some artists you like, similar to how Beats and Apple Music were.  After that it showed me a few playlists it thought I would like.  I pick one.  “Couldn’t prepare radio.  Please try again.”.  Same error on another station.  I figure out how to kill the app.  I think.  I reopen it, and try again.  No luck.  Drilling in to an artist page and trying a song from there also fails.

At this point, the fight for music on Android is on.  I force a device reset.  Re-launch Google Play Music.  Click to play.  Nothing.  :/

I had installed Amazon Music as part of the migration over.  I launch it.  White screen.  Nothing else.  WTF?!  This is pretty rediculous.

To ease the frustration I open YouTube and put on a Tool playlist.  Finally.  Music!

One other piece of acceptable progress.  Pairing AirPods to the Pixel is quick and easy and works well.  They don’t seem to send the “pause” message when you take one out of an ear the way they do on the iPhone, but at least I’m not listening to something!

This will be revisited soon.  Lack of a usable streaming music service is a no-go!  This shall not stand.  Until then, I’ll be listening on YouTube.

Update:  Not long after this was written I got Google Play Music to work.  I had to go under the settings of the Google Play Music app and there is a button to click to “refresh”.  This solved it.  It seems the free trial period didn’t register which is why it would not stream.  You’d think once you activate the trial in the app it would know the trial had started, but this extra step was needed.  I still consider this a failure as I would like to get Apple Music working within the next 3 months!

Update 2: After an Apple Music app update, the my login seems fine.  It looks like they disabled the two-factor authentication check for Apple Music logins from Android as it took my primary Apple ID password, not one of the generated, app-specific passwords.  Either way I am in and happy to be able to access my playlists and songs again!

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