Samsung has gone full circle on digital music: The company has teamed up with Google to bring streaming music to its new Galaxy S8 and S8+ phones, where Google Play music will be the “default” music service, according to a blog post published by Google Friday.
Consumers who buy one of Samsung’s new flagship phones will get a three-month free trial of Google Play Music’s premium tier in the 63 countries where it is available. They will also be able to upload up to 100,000 of their own MP3s to the service’s cloud locker for unlimited streaming, no matter whether they eventually decide to pay for Play Music or not, or even live in a country where premium streaming is an option — the free storage offer is available worldwide. Usually, Google Play Music comes with free storage of up to 50,000 songs.
Doubling the size of the cloud locker may not mean all that much for consumers. But for Samsung, teaming up with Google on digital music is a big deal, and a major reversal of the company’s previous take on digital services.
Back in 2014, Samsung launched its own digital music service dubbed Milk Music that was closely modeled after Pandora’s personal radio service. But while Milk Music got a modest following, it never offered a real path to monetization, or a way to compete with true on-demand services like Apple Music and Spotify.
Samsung briefly played with the idea of a Tidal acquisition, but eventually decided to get out of the services field altogether to focus on its core hardware business instead. The company shuttered Milk Music last September. At the time, Samsung already said that it was looking to partner with others for music on its devices going forward.
The fact that this partner now turns out to be Google also signals improving relationships between the two companies, which in the past feuded over Samsung’s customization of Google’s Android operating system. And the partnership goes beyond Samsung’s new flagships: Starting this week, Google Play Music will also be the default app and service on any other device shipped by the company.
Update: 9:12am: This post was updated with additional details on the partnership.