Google Music device authorization limit could cause headaches for ROM lovers


Google Music’s current allowance of 10 authorized devices to be attached to any one account sounds like plenty for the average user. After a laptop, desktop computer, smartphone, and tablet there are is still plenty of room to work with for the likes of Google TV or additional mobile devices. And should you reach your limit of 10 authorized devices and need to add another, it should be as simple as de-authorizing one you aren’t currently using and simply adding the new one, right? Wrong.

It is unclear how long the limit has been in place, but Google Music will only allow a user to de-authorize four devices per year after they have been added to an account. For the average user this will never be a problem. As we mentioned earlier you could connect a whole fleet of personal devices to your Google Music account and still have room to spare. But for folks that enjoy flashing new ROMs onto their Android devices this could be a problem.

With ROMs, it is often hit or miss as to whether or not new software will cause Google Music to detect your phone as the one currently registered with Google Music or a new one altogether. It is possible, then, that a rooted user flashing new software builds onto their phone could quickly chew through their 10 available device slots without even knowing it. Once the max has been reached the limit of four de-authorizations becomes a problem.

While Google’s intention were likely never to meant to punish those that enjoy modding their Android devices, there probably isn’t much that can be done. The authorization limit is in place to protect the rights of music labels and the artists they serve. If you could simply add new devices at will there is nothing stopping you from sharing your entire music library with all of your friends or even complete strangers via a shared account. The best users can do is take some time to research how a custom ROM may alter your devices profile as it would appear to Google Music and keep an eye on the number of authorizations currently on your account.

Kevin Krause
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  1. I just had to deactivate 7 Galaxy Nexus’ from my account. I only own one. I flash to much. Haha

    1. How did you remove 7? I just tried and like the article said, I could only remove 4.

  2. I’ve often wondered why they (Google or even Amazon) don’t use something permanent as the identifier. Isn’t there something like the serial or msl or medical that can be pulled as the unquestionably identifier? Even if hashed? This is gonna cause huge problems for a lot of users! Google! Think this through!

  3. I called them and let them know I wasn’t too happy about the De-authorization limit or the limited downloads of purchased music. As a chronic ROM junkie and tester, If they don’t fix the de-authorizations, I am just going to host/ buy my music elsewhere. Heck I have owned more than 4 different Android devices in the past 12 months. Flash those daily and do the math.

    1. Yeah, I’m already looking at alternatives. This is absolutely ridiculous. Arrrrgh! So pissed!

      1. I just went back to my Itunes and Isyncr at least for now.

  4. Why don’t they just go by the phones IMEI number? That shouldn’t change when you flash ROMS right? I don’t flash ROMS so idk, but IMEI is tied to that specific phone so…..you would think it would be a simple code fix for Google to tell the store to look at those… just my 2 cents…

    1. This makes sense. Which is why it will never happen.

      1. Gotta love Corporate logic! Haha

    2. CDMA phones don’t have IMEI’s… they have ESN’s though but that’s more carrier controlled.

      1. So go by the MAC address of the cell radio or the serial number of the device. There are plenty of ways to positively identify a specific device regardless of ROM. The point is, this wasn’t very well thought out.

  5. confirmed. I have 4 Galaxy Nexuses and two touchpads on my account, but I only have one of each. They need to figure out how to fix this.

  6. Maybe there is a better way to identify a unique user but I certainly don’t have a problem with the limits. I also met my limit and had to deauthorize some of my device profiles, but honestly I expected this. There is a ton of freedom with android, including the ability to flash ROMs, but that ability has to come with some risks, limits, and responsibility from the end user. I’d much prefer Google having to put these limits in place so they can get content to sell through the play store than having to buy content from someone else…

  7. This is also a problem for people who had to warranty exchange there phone a few times. i had a LG G2X(that complete waste of plastic) and had to exchange it out 4 times before they gave me my sensation. so now i have 3 G2X’s and 2 Sensations on my account. They gotta fix this asap!!!

  8. why not per cell phone number or for computers tablets, use WiFi mac address????

  9. You know, I really think this is another case of the Modding community thinking that they are more important than they really are.

    I am sure Google didn’t arbitrarily assign these limits.

    1. Ok, that’s a valid point but… How bout a warning or a notice? I was never notified, otherwise I would have taken other measures to insure the deactivation limitation was not exceeded.

    2. Agreed. Modders make Apple fanboys look rational.

    3. …and no-one said it was arbitrary. Even the article alluded to the possibility that the number was set by the Labels.

      …and you totally lost me on the whole “Modding community thinking that they are more important than they really are.” bit. What would that even have to do with…anything?

    4. I don’t think you actually know what the development (not modding) community does for android.

  10. A heads up would have been nice at least. I am screwed… I will keep my custom cm 9 build and have to use that. Most of the other roms linked to my GM account have already been deleted.

  11. The only thing I find odd is when Andy Rubin loves to report the amount of total activation’s, claiming each item is unique, regardless of flashed ROMs or not, then this comes up and it’s totally different. If Google can differentiate between custom ROMs not being duplicated when activated, why not the same for Music?

  12. I was able to remove 8 droid x and a xoom a few weeks ago

  13. We may record device identifiers including your computer’s MAC address or device identifiers such as IMEI or MEID for mobile devices in order to:
    Authenticate your upload computers and/or authorized devices for offline accessImplement service limitations as described in the Additional Terms for Music on Google PlayEnforce certain security limits related to contractual commitments to content owners who license us music to sell
    You can delete a device identifier when you wish to stop using and de-register that device.

    i dont get it when you flash roms your imei or meid change???

  14. Well that blows

  15. This doesn’t just screw over ROM flashers, but those of us that get, and test new devices for tech blogs.

    Holy cow, I can’t believe how much they screwed us right now. Can’t add a new device for another year…. I’m HEATED.

    1. Now Chris while I really hate the idea of them limiting the devices, is there a code perhaps they could give you guys (people that do reviews) that would allow you to break past the 10 item limits? Perhaps with enough outcry this will get shelved as an idea.

  16. Hmmm…I was able to de-auth 7 devices.

  17. Thats the MPAA and RIAA for you. They are just ruining this country. Just take a look at who funds politics mainly and it would point straight back to the RIAA and MPAA.

  18. This is kind of scary because I’ve run into this a few times already this year (hopefully not 4). I use three computers at home, one at work, and then my Android which I flash fairly often. I guess the smart thing would be to keep backups of your ROMs so if you run into that limit you can just restore and proceed as normal. Hopefully your ROM doesn’t have some major bug that prompted you to flash something else though.

    This is why I believe in leaving well enough alone. When I find a good ROM, unless something absoloutly breathtaking is going on in another, I wont switch. This just gives me another reason not to.

  19. Non-issue. I’ve hit the limit several times. Takes 30 seconds to delete some “devices”.

  20. It has already caused me a headache. Even when I don’t switch ROMs, I’ve “activated” ten devices already. I had three of my same tablet (not even rooted), six of my Nexus S and one computer. I already e-mailed them a bitch-o-gram about it. They need to fix this stuff. Do it by a non-changing hardware address like MAC or something of that nature.

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