Google Play Music is the standard music player on many Android devices, bundled with many of Google’s other applications. Beyond just being a music player, it also includes a store, and a paid streaming service in the form of the $10 per month Google Play Music All Access. As great as the app is, it’s not immediately apparent how to download music to listen offline.
The first way to download music will be used if you’ve already uploaded your music library to Google Play Music, have purchased music through the Google Play store, or subscribe to the All Access service. Open the app, navigate to “My Library”, and in the “Albums” panel, click the three dot menu icon next to the album you would like to download. Tap “Download” inside that panel, and in a few minutes you’ll be able to listen to that album offline. If you would like to download your entire library, the easiest way to do this will be to navigate to “Playlists”, and under “Auto Playlists” click the three dot menu icon next to “Last Added”, tap “Download”, and you’re on your way. This will take some time—my library has around 500 songs, and took over 8 hours to download the last time I tried. If you have a big library, it’s best to let things download overnight. Also note that any music you download from within the Play Music app can only be listened to in the Play Music app.
If you’re using Windows or OS X and would like to download any albums you’ve purchased, that process is relatively simple as well. Simply go to https://play.google.com/music/listen#/now, find the album or song, clicking the three dot menu icon and selecting “Download.” You can select multiple songs or albums to download by clicking while holding the command or control button, then clicking “Download” up top. One important factor to keep in mind is you can only download each song or album using this method twice. Additionally, you can download your entire library by installing the Music Manager. Sign into Music Manager using the same Google account you use for Play Music, and you’ll be able to either download your entire library, download only the songs you’ve purchased, or upload any music on your machine. No matter how you download music, it will arrive in a compressed file.
As said before, Google Play Music is more than just a music player. Even if you do not like living in Google’s ecosystem, they have a wide variety of music to purchase, weekly deals on free music, and an easy way to keep your library backed up in case things go wrong. I prefer buying my music and using a simple music player app, and Play Music is a convenient way to do so while still having my purchases backed up.