Google Play Music All Access users might want to avoid storing songs on a MicroSD card for offline playback, at least until Google fixes a bug that wipes those files out.
The bug causes cached songs to vanish whenever users power off their phones, reboot the system, or pull out their MicroSD cards, Android Police reports. The issue only affects downloads from Google Play Music All Access, a $10 per month subscription service; it doesn’t delete any music files that the user owns.
A Google support representative originally blamed the issue on copy protection, saying the files are deleted to prevent users from bringing them to another device. But in a follow up conversation, another representative said this is not the case. Google Play Music should not be deleting files without explicit user permission, the rep said, and the issue with MicroSD cards is just a bug that Google is now fixing.
Android Police notes that the support representative’s statement doesn’t completely add up, as it claims incorrectly that Google doesn’t store All Access songs as MP3 files. In fact, Google does store actual MP3s, but in a protected private folder that’s supposed to shut out all other apps. (Samsung’s stock music player can apparently access the files, but with scrambled titles and no other metadata.)
In any case, users who’ve spent a long time downloading songs to an SD card should avoid rebooting for the time being, while everyone else should stick with local storage until this issue gets worked out.
Why this matters: It’s surely a coincidence, but subscription music has been causing some headaches for Apple users as well. The latest update for iOS, which enables the new Apple Music service, also disables streaming music to networked devices through Home Sharing. Users have also found that for music they own, syncing through iCloud Music Library adds DRM to those songs when downloaded on other devices. As convenient as these streaming services are, the DRM required to keep rented songs on lockdown can often cause problems.