[Technology] Google Music and Linux

Today I wanted to listen to the Splatoon soundtrack ("Splatune"), which I own.  I wanted to cast it using my phone to my Chromecast Audio connected to my speakers.  When I searched Google Play Music, I couldn't find it in my library (I own the CD, but I use Google Play Music Manager to sync my music library between Linux and Google Play Music, hmm).

It did find YouTube videos of the soundtrack.  "Good enough," I thought.  I tried to cast that from YouTube to my speakers, but the casting icon was greyed out.  I could not cast to my speakers, let alone my TV.  Is that some DRM?  How obnoxious.

I double checked my Google Play Music library and, yup, it wasn't present.  I then unpacked my computer my shoulder bag, plugged it in, set it up at my desk (what a hassle), and tried to see why it wasn't synced.  Google Play Music Manager was no longer installed (!).  Perhaps it was automatically uninstalled when upgrading to Fedora 26 (or 25, 6 months ago?).  Hmm.

Alright, I'll just reinstall it.  I googled "Google Play Music Linux" and did not find it in the top 10 results.  That's not good.  I searched again with the words sync and manager, and there it was.  Hooray.  Link (this page might detect your OS and present you with something not Linux-y if you're not on Linux).  I clicked to install the RPM for my configuration.  I was concerned that it would just install a package, and not a repository with which to keep it up to date, but lo, it indeed wanted to install an RPM of the repository configuration: hooray!

And it wants to do it through GNOME Software, rather than the command-line, double-win!

And then after it went through to install, it asked me... if I wanted to install it?  I went through it again, and again, and again.  Great, so it's 2017 and it still sucks to install software on Linux/GNOME.  I would have hoped that if it failed, GNOME Software would have said something, or if it had succeeded, it wouldn't act as though it was uninstalled.

I checked via the command line (ugh) using dnf and, huh, it's installed?  Along with a bunch of dependencies:

That's me removing it.  So I can try again, to see if GNOME Software chokes a second time.

Hooray, this time GNOME Software acts as though it succeeded!

 Then, it gave me a page saying it couldn't find some google music manager beta package, as though after installing the repository, it wanted to install the actual software?  I missed getting that as a screenshot, as in frustration I just repeated the whole process.  3rd time, it worked!

Google Play Music Manager

So, as far as the actual tool goes, I am disappointed that it's proprietary.  However, it seems to work well for now.  Conveniently, and luckily, it respects my music folder hierarchy (~/files/music/ARTIST/ALBUM/TRACK).  Sadly, it does track names as "TRACKNUM TITLE.mp3".  I'd have preferred ARTIST.ALBUM.TRACKNUM.TITLE.ogg, but this is something I could achieve by script.

I don't know exactly how well Google Play Music Manager identifies individual tracks.  Like, if I change a file name of a Grimes' song, that I bought on Google Play Music, from "11 ≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω.mp3" to "Grimes.Halfaxa.11.≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω≈Ω.mp3", would it known that it's the same file?  E.g. md5sum, or maybe metadata/IDv3 tags?  I wouldn't expect it to recognise it if I changed the format, especially since some people do have multiple copies of the same song, just in different bitrates/encodings. 

But I don't need Google Play Music Manager to be that smart.  I just need it to stay installed, and to continue working in the background, and continue being slim (e.g. some past syncing tools I've had to use (e.g. photo ones) have been HORRIBLE for thrashing my hard drive or hogging the CPU when I'm trying to interact with my computer; it helps that now I have an SSD and 4 cores, compared to half a decade ago when it was 7200RPM HDD and 2 cores, or a decade ago when ... there was ONE core).

I need it to both download music that I purchase on the service, and upload music that appears on my computer (not that I buy many CDs or music outside of Google Play Music anymore; not that I even have a CD (or DVD) player of any kind in my house anymore). And it does it.  And it almost installed cleanly, and eventually did on a third time (only needing to use the command-line to reset the mysterious errors of the first two tries; and I had assumed the universe was deterministic, ha!).

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