While YouTube Music has seen a steady series of updates in recent months, Google Play Music has stagnated ahead of its eventual replacement. In April, Google removed a direct portal for smaller artists to upload songs and is now removing the ability to gift Play Music subscriptions. For the past year or so, Google has rolled out only minor Play Music updates, with version 8.21 for Android this week removing the “Send gift” option. Available under General in settings, it lets you “Give a Google Play Music subscription.”This straightforward gifting includes one- ($9.99), three- ($29.97), or six-month ($59.94) subscriptions. After selecting, you enter the recipient’s email address, “From,” and an optional message. This opens the Play Store’s billing options to confirm, with the other person receiving a redemption code.
Gifting music subscriptions have been around for several years, but Google is now beginning the process of removing it from the Android client. A Google Play Help page on how to “Send Google Play gifts by email” notes. Despite the message, it’s still available on older versions of the Play Music client, while the web app even features the link. Visiting play.google.com/music/gift will also let you gift a subscription, while the ability is still being advertised on a page about Play gift cards.
Ultimately, this is a minor feature deprecation with family plans solving the problem for most users. YouTube Music does not have a similar capability, but there are more important things that Google’s primary streaming service has to first add from Play Music, including the cloud library and playlist transfer.