What to Do When Google Assistant Won't Play Music

Troubleshooting tips to get those tunes playing again

Google Assistant controls your phone when you issue voice commands. It sets appointments, sends texts, and plays music from a variety of apps and streaming services. If something goes wrong when you ask Google Assistant to play music, there are some easy troubleshooting steps to try.

A phone sitting on a table with Google Assistant failing to play music.
imran kadir photography / Moment / Getty

Check Your Permissions

One problem might be with your permissions. Google Assistant can't work properly if it doesn't have access to the Google app and other core functions. For example, Google Assistant needs access to your phone's microphone to hear voice commands.

Here's how to check permissions on your Android device and make sure Google Assistant has the access it needs.

  1. Open Settings, and then select Apps & notifications.

    If you have an older Android version, you may need to select Apps instead.

  2. Select Google.

  3. Select Permissions.

    Access your Google app permissions on an Android device
  4. You'll see a list of Allowed and Denied apps and functions. Under Denied, tap a function and then tap Allow to change the permission. Repeat this process until you've given Google permission to access any apps and functions it may need.

    Changed denied permissions to allowed for the Google ap

    In some Android versions, you may see these permissions in the form of toggles. Slide the toggles to the On position to enable the permission.

  5. Use the back arrow to return to App Permissions.

  6. Select your music app. This example uses YouTube Music.

    Other compatible music services include Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio.

  7. Select Permissions.

  8. Confirm that the music app has storage and microphone permissions. If not, tap a denied permission to allow it.

    YouTube Music permissions enabled on an Android device

    Or turn on the toggle switch for a permission if that's how your Android device displays this function.

  9. With the new permissions enabled, check if this solved the problem and if Google Assistant can play music.

Check Your Linked Google Account

The problem might stem from mismatched Google accounts. Some music service apps, such as YouTube Music, require your Google Assistant and your music app to be tied to the same Google account.

Here's how to link your Google Assistant device and music service to the same Google Account.

  1. On your Android device, launch the Google app, and then select More.

    Depending on your Google app or Android version, the More menu may be represented by various symbols, including ⋮ More, ☰ More, or More.

  2. Check the Google account at the top of the menu screen. The music service app must be linked to the account listed here.

    Find what Google Account you're currently linked to
  3. To switch Google accounts, select the down arrow.

  4. Select the account that you want to use with Google Assistant, or tap Add another account and follow the onscreen prompts to add a new Google account to your device.

    Add a new account to your Google Android device
  5. Now that your Google app is set to the correct account, open the music app, and tap the Account or Menu icon.

  6. If you aren't logged in to the correct Google account, select the down arrow, then select the correct Google account.

    Set the correct Google account in your music app
  7. Repeat this process for any other music service apps you use.

Set a New Default Music Service

If Google Assistant can't play music, set a new default music service from your linked services.

  1. Open the Google Assistant app and select your profile image in the upper-right corner.

  2. Under All Settings, scroll down and select Music.

  3. Under Your Music Services, select another linked music service. See if Google Assistant can play music from this service.

    Set a new default music service

Link a New Music Account

If Google Assistant still can't play music after setting another service as your default, link another music app. Here's how to link a new music streaming service account to Google Assistant:

  1. Open the Google Assistant app, and select your profile image in the upper-right corner.

  2. Under All Settings, scroll down and select Music.

  3. Under More music services, tap a music service to link it to your account.

    Link a new music service in Google Assistant
  4. Select Link Account and then sign in to your account if prompted.

    You also have the option of creating a new account from here.

  5. You've added a new music service to Your music services. It's now an option to select as the default.

    Link a new Music service to your Google Assistant
  6. Repeat the previous steps for any additional music service you want to link. Check to see if Google Assistant can play music from any of the newly linked services.

What to Do When Google Assistant Won't Play Songs in Your Library

Google Assistant plays music from streaming services like YouTube Music and Spotify, as well as offline music from local storage on your device. If you have trouble getting Google Assistant to play music from your device, say in my library at the end of your voice command.

For example, the command Play Sleater-Kinney in my library prompts Google Assistant to open locally stored songs from the band Sleater-Kinney using your default music app.

how to use the Google Assistant play in library command.

Create a Playlist to Solve Other Problems

The best workaround for hard-to-resolve, non-specific problems is to create playlists using music files stored on your device, and then ask Google Assistant to play one of these playlists.

For example, create a playlist in YouTube Music using locally stored songs. Use the command Play [name of created playlist].

how to get Google Assistant to play a local playlist.

If Google Assistant still can't play any of your locally stored files, you may have to wait for Google to release a fix that addresses a specific glitch or device-and-service incompatibility. Visit the official Google Assistant support forum for additional information and to report your problem.

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