×

Google Launches Music Streaming Service

All Access platform to compete With Spotify

At its sixth annual Google I/O conference on Wednesday, the search giant launched its own subscription streaming music service, dubbed Google Music Play All Access.

Tipped by a plethora of rumors beforehand, the move officially enters Google into competition with the likes of Spotify, Rhapsody and Pandora, and positions it ahead of Apple, which has been rumored to be planning a streaming service for months. Yet plenty of big questions remain.

Priced at $9.99 per month, the service allows users a rather huge degree of control over radio functions. Combining Google’s own catalog of “millions” of songs with a user’s own music library, Google Play All Access allows users to peruse genres and albums, create playlists and launch “lean-back” radio from seed songs or artists. Unlike competitors in the space, Google’s platform will allow listeners to browse through automated playlists and alter them on the fly, skipping songs or rearranging the sequencing.

The service will be available in the U.S. immediately, with an international rollout to come. The platform works on phones, tablets and Web browsers. Google will offer a one-month free trial, and users who start that free trial before the end of June get a $2 discount on the subscription price.

The first big hurdle the service faces is its price. While the $10 monthly fee is in line with Rdio or Spotify’s premium tiers, the lack of a free or more moderately priced option could be a sticking point. A central tenet of Spotify’s strategy, for example, involves attracting an audience through its ad-supported free tier, then enticing them to become paying subscribers to access the service ad-free and on mobile devices – so far, Spotify has managed to attract 6 million paying subscribers out of an active user base of 24 million.

Another issue concerns the lack of YouTube integration. Technically, the Google-owned YouTube is already the largest music streaming site in the world, yet the company has never really comprehensively connected the site with its Google Play music platforms, and it went unmentioned during the announcement.

Yet Google’s sheer size always makes it a competitor, and its Android devices have been increasingly dominating the smartphone market. Earlier in the conference, Google’s VP of Android product management Hugo Barra announced that Android activations had passed the 900 million mark, with Google Play racking up 48 billion app installations.

More Biz

  • Andrew Weatherall at Caught by the

    British DJ-Producer Andrew Weatherall Dies at 56

    British music producer, DJ and record-label founder Andrew Weatherall, who co-produced Primal Scream’s landmark 1991 album “Screamadelica” and helped bring the acid house genre into the mainstream, died Monday in a London hospital from a pulmonary embolism, his management confirmed to the Guardian. He was 56. “He was being treated in hospital but unfortunately the [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Sharp Objects

    Entertainment One Commits to Drama: 'Hasbro Bought the Business to Expand It'

    “Sharp Objects” and “Run” producer-distributor Entertainment One is reassuring partners of its commitment to drama following its acquisition by toy giant Hasbro. EOne has always cultivated a strong set of procedurals, such as ABC’s Nathan Fillion-starrer “The Rookie” and Fox’s Stephen Dorff-led “Deputy,” but has also gained traction with cable propositions such as HBO’s “Sharp [...]

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content