What just happened? Google has shared a four-month timeline for shutting down its Play Music platform. The streaming service was bound to be axed sooner or later in favor of YouTube Music, and will now gradually lose access to features, starting with end of support for purchases and pre-orders later this month. Music streaming will be turned off in September and October, while users would have until December to transfer their content (purchases, playlists, uploads) and shift to YouTube Music.

Google's replacement for Play Music had been on the cards for a while now, but it wasn't known when the company would be officially retiring its long-running music streaming service. In a recent blog post, the tech giant shared a detailed timeline on the platform's closure and informed users of the necessary steps they need to take for transitioning to YouTube Music.

Later this month, Google will drop support for music upload/download on Play Music through its Music Manager desktop app and will also disable purchases and pre-orders. Streaming will be turned off for users in New Zealand and South Africa in September, followed by a global shutdown in October.

Users looking forward to YouTube Music can use Google's recently released transfer tool for migrating their data from Play Music or use Google Takeout for exporting relevant content. While the Play Music app and website will be taken offline in October, the company notes that users' playlists, uploads, purchases, likes, and other data will be preserved through December for transferring to YouTube Music, after which it will no longer be available.

Users who decide not to migrate their content to YouTube Music will have their subscriptions canceled. Google also says that it will notify such users in advance and also inform them before they lose access to their Play Music content.

While such transitions aren't always comfortable, Google's intentions with Play Music had been pretty clear for some time now. Last year, the company began pushing Android phone makers to preload YouTube Music on all new Android 10 devices and now looks forward to competing against the likes of Apple Music and Spotify with a single, focused offering.