· 315 words · 2 minute read

Google Play Quality Sucks

I was listening to Google Play Music, and I realized the quality sucks.

An example is the album “Awaking the Fallen” by Avenged Sevenfold. You can clearly hear the distortion on each track, but let’s take track 9 (“I won’t see you tonight part 1”). Skip to 7:45 and you can hear a watery distortion right up to the end of the track. This watery distortion reminds me of bad MP3 rips of old days past.

My problem is solely with the quality of the encoding. Google uses 320kbps mp3, which should be enough, but somehow it isn’t (tried both in HTML5 version and Flash). To compare, I took part of one song from Google music and compared it with an mp3 encoding i made myself from a lossless source (using 320 cbr with LAME). The difference is very noticeable. To clarify: the song comes from Google all access, I didn’t upload it myself.

Listen for yourself:

Or try listening to this on Google Play: Pink Floyd - Time at 7:05
Just yuck!

Why do I pay for music, when I get better quality by downloading it ‘illegally’?

Google’s answer: “… we must communicate with music labels to correct the content…” So they rely on the music label to provide properly encoded music?

update Spotify has way better quality music, as long as you turn off ‘Set the same volume level for all tracks’ and turn on ‘high quality streaming’. Apple Music also has way better quality music. Both “Time” and “I won’t see you tonight part 1” sound a lot better.

(want to rip MP3 from Google directly? Right-click inspect element anywhere on the page, go to network page and find the streams there. Download with Curl or Wget)

update2 Apparently this is most likely audio watermarking. Stupid. http://www.mattmontag.com/music/weird-spotify-compression-artifacts http://www.mattmontag.com/music/universals-audible-watermark

the audio is obviously not under the Creative Commons license