Update: Google does not indicate any of this access on their support page at the moment for Ghana: Country Availability
Could it be possible that, Google Play Music will be next to open up for access in Ghana, after Google Play Books and Google Play Store for Apps? For years, one is greeted by the screenshot below, anytime an attempt is made to access one or more of the many market places for different products and services such as Google Play Movies.
At the moment if you are in Ghana you can access Google Play Music.
Ghana enjoys full access to Google Play Store for Apps, but unfortunately, it is not possible to buy books on Play Books and or on Play Music which was recently opened up.
I call it partial-access with the Music and Books by the way. With the Books, one can upload .epub and .pdf documents via the Android mobile app, which automatically syncs to the app available on desktop in the browser.
A similar limitation is with the Music. One can upload music and sync across devices, but it’s impossible to purchase music from the Google Music Store. It’s a great feature having books or music synced across devices, yet even better would have been the ability to buy and download latest digital content.
To do that in Ghana, well, Google says No! For now.
Why the need for Play Music and Books?
I think Google is showing up to the party late in our context. Of course, Ghana or West Africans in general might not be in a position to buy and rent and use these Play digital content as it is done elsewhere around the world. Yep, the ROI might not be worth it immediately, or probably, at all. And because of that, they make a very poor, boring entry to these regions.
No one cares! Who cares, if Google Play Music launches in Ghana today, or tomorrow, or never! Many Ghanaians, including myself, have found even better and flexible (non-tyranny-like) platforms that are offering similar services to that of Play Music or Books, and probably doing better.
Talk of Books, Amazon! With my debit or credit card in hand, I can grab myself almost every single book published and available on Amazon. So you say Play Books? I say Amazon.
I am no licensing expert or international copyright expert, but from where I stand, it is way easier concluding how Google doesn’t give a scent or two pennies about bringing these services to more in Africa, than any copyright/licensing hurdles they might be facing.
See here: https://support.google.com/googleplay/answer/2843119
Google Play Movies in Benin; No Play Books, but Google Books in South Africa but not Movies. Therefore, on what criteria exactly is Google playing its you-but-not-you game?
On the other hand, there is a strong global competition to provide other options for Google Play Music, which even provide open access to their digital content everywhere around the world. As I mentioned in a similar post:
When it comes to subscription based music, I think Deezer has made their point pretty clear that they’re serious and ready for business, and have made a resounding entry to the local market of Ghana, to the extent of partnering with Tigo; a Ghanaian telecommunication service provider.
At the end of the day, its great to have other alternatives ready and willing to fill a gap in a professional way. These alternatives make for great experience.
I think Google can now shamefully open up access to these services, hoping to get as many as possible audience. Although I am one of this audience, the introduction of Google Play Music and Books isn’t gonna make any dent in my life nor choice of platforms or services. I think they’re late to the party, and they’re unfortunately trying to sneak into the party through a back door to draw no one’s attention to their lateness. That’s fine partner, some of us have noticed.
To Access Music and Books
Obviously, you need a Google Account, but keep your debit card in your wallet as you are not gonna need that yet, at least as long as subscriptions or purchases are disabled at the moment in Ghana. What you can do are:
- Upload music to your cloud collection
- Download from your cloud collection
- Sync music to and from phone
- Create Playlists and edit tracks on PC app
What you can’t do:
- Buy music
- Roll onto subscriptions
At the moment, if you are looking for what Google Play Music offers, then you are in for a ride. If you look to buy latest music or rent and find Google Play Music limiting, perhaps you might want to try Deezer.
Are you now excited to see Google Music in Ghana despite its limiting access? Were your fingers crossed in wait of the service? Let us know what you thing in the comments below.
Source: Rexford Nkansah is #TheAfricanDream tech critic/writer