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Google killing Google Play Music for YouTube Music in 2020

Google is killing off its Google Play Music in 2020 and transitioning existing customers to its other music service, YouTube Music. 

Today the company is rolling out tools to begin transferring playlists, personal taste preferences and music libraries from Google Play to YouTube. 

"We wanted to make it drop-dead easy and give people time to get to know YouTube Music," says Brandon Bilinski, a product manager for YouTube Music and Google Play Music. 

Google made a strategic decision in 2018 to put its marketing emphasis on YouTube Music instead of Google Play since YouTube reaches billions of viewers daily who come there to watch and listen to music. Google figured YouTube fans would be more willing to pay for a subscription from a YouTube branded service. 

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But so far, Google and YouTube are still trailing established players. Spotify, the No. 1 music service, has 113 million paying subscribers, compared to 60 million for Apple Music and 55 million for Amazon Music. 

Combined, Google Play and YouTube Music have 20 million paying subscribers, and Bilinski says it's a pretty even spread between the two services. 

YouTube Music has a free ad-supported version, or ad-free at $9.99 – or $11.99 if bundled with ad-free YouTube.com. Spotify (which also has a free version) and Apple both charge $9.99 monthly. Amazon Music charges $7.99 monthly. 

For fans who have built extensive libraries on Google Play, they will receive an email shortly with a link to send the music to the new home, YouTube Music. They will need to download the YouTube Music app and click on the transfer button. 

Podcast fans will find themselves migrated from Google Play Music to another Google app, Google Podcasts. Bilinski says the aim is to have podcasts listened to via search and the Google Home and Nest Hub speakers primarily.

For Google Play fans wondering why they are being moved over to YouTube Music, Bilinski notes that YouTube has a wider catalog than rivals (with so many live cuts and direct band uploads not available elsewhere) plus the ability to mix videos into playlists. 

Unlike some rivals, Google has allowed direct uploads of MP3s from computer libraries to the services, and with the transition, Google has increased the maximum to 100,000 total songs, up from a previous 50,000. 

Additionally, Google has increased playlist length from 1,000 to 5,000 songs.

Follow USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham on Twitter, @jeffersongraham