The default music app on Samsung’s new Galaxy S8 will be Google Play Music.
That’s a boring sentence that has a lot of significance for the biggest Android phone maker in the world.
The move shows Samsung is finally starting to realize that its homegrown software is not up to snuff compared to the excellent apps and services Google already offers with every Android phone. It was my biggest complaint with the Galaxy S8 and one of the key reasons I think the iPhone still has a slight edge over Samsung’s latest device.
Samsung likes differentiating its Android phones by packing them with extra features on top of Android. That usually means a lot of Samsung apps that do the same thing as Google apps for standard things like calendar, email, and web browsing. But instead of taking another stab at music streaming (Samsung tried and failed once upon a time with something called Milk Music), Samsung made the smart move and partnered with Google.
Play Music lets you load up your regular MP3 files to your phone and stream music from all the major labels for $9.99 per month. It’s the Google equivalent of Spotify or Apple Music and it’s pretty good.
Samsung users will get some extra bonuses. On top of a free three months of the streaming service, you’ll be able to upload 100,000 of the music files you own to the cloud and stream them back to any device. (Google Play usually limits you to 50,000 songs.)
Android is great on its own without modifications from Samsung, and the company is slowly learning that lesson. This is a great first step by both Samsung. Hopefully it follows suit with other features like choosing Google Assistant over its own Bixby assistant.
The deal is good for Google Play Music too. Although Google hasn’t disclosed subscriber numbers, Play Music is generally considered to be much smaller than Apple Music and Spotify, which each have tens of millions of paid users. Getting top slot as the default music app on what will likely be the most popular Android phone this year could give Play Music a nice boost.