Jun 15, 2017

Google Play Music doesn't play well with VPNs.

If you're a user of Google Play Music, and are experiencing the "Couldn't prepare radio. Please try again" issue, and use a VPN (virtual private network), you may want to disable it.

After probably a year of experiencing the issue, and five months of attempting to deal with Google Play Music's support service, and nearly deciding on leaving for Spotify, I did the following:

1. Disconnected my VPN service. Including End Tasking (Through Windows Task Manager) any instance of it.
2. Quitting, and End Tasking any instance of Chrome, or Chrome\Google related service (ie. Google Drive, any other thing that runs as a background app.)
3. Reopen Chrome, go to Google Play Music, and attempt playing a radio station based on an artist in my library.

Of particular note is that it took jamming on the Play Artist Station option several times until it finally loaded.

After seeing some success with that method, I attempted the same thing with the feature I'd missed the most, and is of most value in any music service, the randomized recommended playlist function based on your library and likes, known as "I'm Feeling Lucky" Radio.

Sure enough, after clicking on the die once to no avail, and then once more, a station loaded up. I clicked three more times to see if it'd successfully load a new randomized list, and it did.

Now, I doubt the VPN was the entire issue, as I know I had attempted to play "I'm Feeling Lucky" after disabling my VPN when I first began troubleshooting with support. At one point in the five months of e-mailing back and forth with them, they informed me an engineer had done something that should have resolved the issue for me, but when I tested it out, I still received an error message.

So it might be a combination of issues?

Also I've read other users sharing stories that after deleting some (all?) of their uploaded music tracks, they noticed it fixed the failed radio loading issue. I'd done the same just before did the VPN disabling thing.

I will most likely reupload my personal music library, which contain foreign tracks with special characters, which I'd believed was part of the issue. If I begin encountering the problem again, I'll update this post.

update . Hours after writing, I'm beginning to notice some success with getting "I'm Feeling Lucky" Radio stations to load while the VPN is enabled. But it takes anywhere from one to several clicks. It's funny because it is just like rolling a die now as to whether a playlist is formed and played. This makes me wonder if it was more related to having some 2000 uploaded tracks, an assorted number with bad tags and or special characters in their name.

I deleted my entire library, including deleting them from the Trash around last Sunday, as a test. Perhaps it took this long for all that to filter out. The only thing that exists are new tracks I've liked and added to my "library" from the available library of tracks available on GPM.