Monday, May 20, 2013

The App That Puts Google’s Music Subscription Service on Your iPhone


Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired
If we learned anything from the riveting 1980′s drama Footloose, it’s that music (and dance) should be available everywhere. So when Google announced its subscription service, Google Play Music All Access, and made it an Android-only affair, more than a few iOS users were bummed.

But never fear, Apple acolytes, because one third-party developer has quickly compiled zeros and ones so anyone with an iPhone, iPod touch or an iPad can enjoy Google’s All Access subscription music service. The gMusic app already plays the songs you’ve uploaded to Google Music. But after hearing Google announce All Access last week at I/O, developer James Clancey spent the weekend banging out an update to support the subscription service. Clancey submitted the app to the iTunes App Store this morning.

The update includes a Web Search feature that taps into the subscription-based All Access song database. Want to hear Lemon Crush from Prince’s Batman soundtrack? Do a quick web search from within the app and you’re good to rock out like it’s the late 1980s.

According to Clancey, he started working on the update the same day the news dropped from Google I/O. Building a new UI was the biggest hurdle, he said via email.

“I had streaming music playing in gMusic within the hour,” Clancey said.

While not quite as slick as Rdio or Spotify’s iOS offerings, gMusic does a great job accessing the All Access library. Plus, you can access all those songs you uploaded to Google Music when the service launched.

But the fact this app must exist at all shows Google’s shortsightedness when it comes to the new service. By making the service Android only, Google is limiting the reach and eventual adoption of the subscription service. While third-party apps like gMusic are a great way for iOS users to partake in Google’s latest offering, Google should be spearheading this effort. There’s little incentive to leave a subscription service that works on both major platforms for a service that only works on one.

The same could be said about Apple’s rumored music subscription service, of course. If Rdio or Spotify work on your iPhone and Nexus 7, why jump ship to a service that only works on one of those devices? While app stores work in a closed system, music is a different beast — especially with so many established services working on all the major platforms.

Until Google figures this out, there’s gMusic.

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