You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Google Intros Ad-Supported Music Streaming Ahead of Apple Music Launch

Google is getting ready for Apple’s music streaming service by serving up some free music of its own: The company’s Google Play Music service is rolling out free, Pandora-like radio streaming, offering users in the U.S. both playlists curated by music experts as well as automatically generated endless streams.

Free streaming for Google Play Music launched on the web Tuesday, and will become available through the service’s iOS and Android apps in the coming days.

Play Music’s new free streams are supported by advertising, and also available to customers who don’t subscribe to the service’s paid tier. That’s similar not only to Pandora but also some of the free tiers offered by subscription services like Rdio and Deezer. However, it doesn’t go as far as Spotify’s free tier, which lets users pick any song they want when accessing the service via their computer.

Apple Music won’t have an ad-supported free tier when it launches on June 30, but the service will have its own radio components that will also be available to users that aren’t inclined to pay. Apple has hired veteran BBC 1 DJ Zane Lowe to launch Beats 1, a kind of online radio station that features real on-air talent. The company is complementing this with comment-free radio streams that have also been curated by humans.

Apple has made a big deal of emphasizing this human curation. However, almost all music services use humans to curate radio streams and playlists to some degree. Google Play Music’s new radio streams are in large part based on Songza, a playlist service the company acquired a year ago.

Correction 1:25 p.m.: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Rhapsody had a free, ad-supported tier.

More Digital

  • Lisa Utzschneider - IAS

    IAS Taps Ex-Yahoo Sales Boss Lisa Utzschneider as CEO of Ad-Verification Firm

    Integral Ad Science (IAS), a digital ad verification company, hired Lisa Utzschneider as CEO and board member. Most recently, she was Yahoo’s chief revenue officer, exiting Yahoo with Verizon’s acquisition of the company last year. Utzschneider starts at IAS effective Jan. 7, 2019, replacing president and CEO Scott Knoll, who after eight years in the [...]

  • ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad

    ‘Bumblebee’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV advertising attention analytics company iSpot.tv, Paramount Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Bumblebee.” Ads placed for the sci-fi/action film had an estimated media value of $6.31 million through Sunday for 941 national [...]

  • Kathreen Khavari

    Kathreen Khavari Tapped by Refinery29 for 'Embrace' Comedy Pilot

    Refinery29 will begin production in 2019 on “Embrace,” a pilot from writing duo Kathreen Khavari (“Big Little Lies”) and Chuck Neal. “Embrace” will star Khavari as she comes up with an unconventional solution to prevent her Iranian immigrant parents from having to move back to Iran. Refinery29 bills the show, set in Khavari’s hometown of [...]

  • Outlander Season 4

    Starz Available for $5 a Month for Three Months Through the Holidays

    Starz is having an online holiday sale: The premium cable network is selling three months of its online streaming service for $5 per month, down from the regular price of $8.99 per month. The offer is available to new users who sign up until the end of December. Subscribers also get a 7-day free trial, [...]

  • Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Strictly

    Listen: Jeffrey Katzenberg, Meg Whitman Go Long on Short-Form Entertainment

    One is a legend in the media business, the other in the tech world. But together Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman are intent on bringing the best of both worlds together for their ambitious new venture: Quibi. On the latest episode of the Variety podcast Strictly Business, the dynamic duo shared their battle plan to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content