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Google Play Hubs, Part 4: Play Music

In part 4 of his series on Google Play Hubs, Eric Butow discusses the Google Play Music app that comes with your Galaxy Tab 2 by default. You can shop for music and other audio files in the Google Play Store. After you download a song or album, it appears in your Play Music app catalog so you can play it whenever you want on your Galaxy Tab 2.
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The last of four preinstalled Google Play media apps is Play Music, which allows you to shop for, preview, purchase, download, and play songs and albums within the Play Music app.

Open the Play Music app by clicking the Apps icon in the home screen, swiping from right to left to view the second page of the Apps screen and then tapping the Play Music icon, as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 The Play Music icon appears third from the left in the second row within the second page of the Apps screen.

After you tap the icon, the Recent screen appears that shows you a list of album covers in the center of the screen as shown in Figure 2. Swipe slowly from right to left to view all the albums that contain songs you can listen to within the Play Music app. You can swipe from left to right to scroll backward in the album covers list.

Figure 2 As you swipe back and forth, the album and artist names appear above the album cover.

The first song in the album list appears in the lower-left corner of the screen. In Figure 2, the song is Ella Fitzgerald's classic jazz tune "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." Begin playing the song by tapping the play icon (a large triangle pointing to the right) in the lower-right corner of the screen you can also see in Figure 2.

When you find an album within the album covers list that interests you, tap the album cover to open the Album screen that displays a list of songs available in the album as well as a larger image of the album cover as shown in Figure 2.

Note that some preinstalled songs require you to have a Wi-Fi Internet connection so you can listen to the song. If you can't listen to the song, the song title is gray; when you tap the title you'll see a window at the bottom of the screen informing you that you can't listen to the song without an Internet connection. You'll learn more about downloading songs to your Galaxy Tab 2 so you can listen to your songs offline later in this article.

Figure 3 Tap the name of the song to begin playing it.

When you want to play a song, tap the song name in the list to open the Play screen as shown in Figure 4. In this example, the name of the song, which in Figure 4 is "One O'Clock Jump" from Count Basie and His Orchestra, appears in the playlist area to the right of the album cover, and the menu icon appears to the right of the song name. (If you have purchased an entire album, then all the songs in the album appear in the playlist area.) The playback controls appear below the song name.

Figure 4 The Play window shows an image of the album cover the song is a part of, the name of the song, and the song controls.

Tap the menu icon to the right of the song name to view the list of songs you've played before. The current song appears with the sound bars to the right of the name in the list (see Figure 5).

Figure 5 The list of songs appears on the left side of the Play screen.

Tap the down arrow (it looks like a right triangle) to the right of the song name in the list to open a drop-down menu with the following options:

  • Play Instant Mix: Have the Play Music app search for related songs and add them to a list of songs that the app will play for you after the song you're playing ends.
  • Add to Playlist: Add the song to your playlist so you can find and play your song easily. You'll learn more about playlists later in this article.
  • Remove from Queue: Remove the song from the list.
  • More by Artist: Have the Play Music app search for other songs you purchased from the same artist and list all the songs on the results screen. Then you can swipe up and down in the list and start playing another song from the artist by tapping on the song name in the list.
  • Shop for Artist: Tap this option to have the Google Play Store search for songs and albums by the artist and display the information in the Google Play Store screen's Search Results page.
  • Delete: Delete the song completely from your Play Music app catalog. After you tap this option, a window appears that asks you to confirm the deletion by tapping OK or cancel the operation by tapping Cancel.

A smaller version of the album cover appears to the right of the song name on the right side of the screen. Tap the album cover to view the album cover instead of the list.

There are three playback controls below the name of the song, from left to right: Move to the beginning of the song, begin playing from the current point in the song, and fast forward to the end of the song. A gray slider bar appears above the playback control icons; this line represents the length of the song, and a blue line appears within that gray line that indicates where you are in the song. For example, if the slider bar is half blue on the left and half gray on the right, that means the player is halfway through the song.

Tap the slider bar to view more playback features on the screen that include these:

  • A bar that appears above the slider bar that gives you the ability to tap the thumbs up icon if you approve of the song or the thumbs down icon if you don't. This information will be added to the song's entry in the Google Play Store so people can get a sense of what listeners think of the song.
  • A blue button in the slider bar so you can tap, hold, and slide the button from left to right to go to a different point in the song. The total running time of the song appears at the right side of the slider bar. The current time where the slider bar button resides appears at the left side of the bar. If the song is paused then the current time flashes in blue to remind you of this; you can still slide the bar to the left and right when the song is paused.
  • To the left of the Rewind icon is the Shuffle icon. After you tap the icon, the Play Music app plays different songs from the album in random order. Turn off the shuffle function by tapping the Shuffle icon again.
  • To the right of the Fast Forward icon is the Autoplay icon. After you tap the icon, the Play Music app plays the song you're currently playing continuously. Tap the icon again to turn off Autoplay.

These other playback options disappear after a few seconds. You can view them again by tapping on the slider bar.

Shop for Music

You can shop for music in the Play Music app home screen or in the Play screen by tapping the Shop icon that appears at the right side of the menu bar at the top of the screen. (The Shop icon looks like a shopping bag with a triangle inside.) After you tap the Shop icon, the Music home screen within the Google Play Store appears and displays the Featured section shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 Swipe up and down in the Featured section to view tiles with featured songs, albums, and artists as well as special offers.

View the genre category list by swiping from right to left on the screen. The list appears on the left side of the screen so you can swipe up and down to view all the categories. When you find a category that you want to view, tap the category name to open the category screen and view a list of albums.

You can also swipe from right to left on the Music home screen to view the different section pages within the Music screen, including Top Albums and Top Songs. Each album or song is represented in a tile that includes an image of the album, the album title, the artist name, and the price to purchase the album. If the album has explicit lyrics, you will also see the word EXPLICIT in the tile.

When you find an album about which you want more information, tap it to view the album page shown in Figure 7, which in this example is the Gotye album Making Mirrors.

Figure 7 Buy an individual song by tapping the blue button with the song price to the right of the song name in the list.

In the upper-left area of the screen, you'll see the album cover, the average review (one to five stars with five being best) based on the number of reviews that appears to the right of the stars, and the blue purchase button. This button contains the price for purchasing the entire album, which is cheaper than purchasing several individual songs from the album. Tap the purchase button to open the payment window.

In the payment window, tap the I Agree to the Payments for Google Play; then tap the Accept and Buy button. After your payment is processed, tap the Play button in the payment window to begin playing the first song in the album in the Play Music app. You'll also see the album cover in the Play Music app home screen you saw in Figure 2. You can then play songs in the album as you learned to do earlier in this article.

Choose On-Device Music

If you want to download songs and/or albums you've purchased to your Tab 2 so you can listen to your music even if you're not connected to the Internet, tap the Menu option in the Play Music app home screen or Album screen. (You can't access this option from the Play screen.) Then tap the Choose On Device Music option in the menu. The Choose On Device Music screen appears as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 The Choose On Device Music screen shows all the albums you can download to your Galaxy Tab 2.

In the blue menu bar at the top of the screen, you'll see the total amount of space available on your Tab 2 at the far right of the bar, which in Figure 8 is 3.54 GB. By default, the screen lists all the albums that you can play in the Play Music app.

Each album tile includes the number of songs available for you to download within the album, and you can swipe up and down the screen to view the entire list of albums. If you want to sort your songs, tap Albums in the menu bar so you can sort your list of songs by

  • Album
  • Artist
  • Playlist
  • All Music
  • On Device Only, which means only songs you have downloaded to your Tab 2

If you find an album that you want to download, tap the album cover to download it to your Tab 2. The pushpin icon at the lower right of the album tile turns white to indicate that the album will be downloaded and stored.

The Notification bar (or the Status bar in Android 4.1x or 4.2x, Jelly Bean) informs you when the download is complete. Next, tap Albums in the menu bar and then tap On Device Only in the menu. The downloaded album tile has a blue pushpin icon that means the album is stored on your Tab 2.

Now that you know how to find, purchase, and play songs in the Play Music app, you can enjoy using the app to play your favorite music whenever and wherever you want on your Tab 2.

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