Google Play Music Gains Free/Ad-supported Version
In what may prove to be a defining move in the war between music streaming services, Google has just announced a free, ad-supported version that is now available in the U.S. This puts the service directly in the path of Spotify (which already offers a free version) and the upcoming Apple Music which is to be launched later this month.
It is not an overly large presumption to say that the impending arrival of Apple Music prompted this change in strategy. Another player in the music industry can only be a good thing for us the users, and in this instance the impending competition seemingly brought us a free tier that offers radio stations hand curated by the Google Play Music team, including the people behind Songza. These stations can be browsed by genre, decade, mood or various activities such as “taking the kids to school” or “working out”. Searching for an artist, song or album will create a playlist of music that is similar.
The primary difference between the free version of GPM and Spotify is a lack of control over specific songs: with the new Google music tier you will be unable to choose the individual songs you hear. You can of course skip tracks (up to 6 tracks an hour) however the songs you ultimately hear are outside of your control. Whilst not offering the freedom of the paid tiers, it is ideal for people who may just want a laid back experience or those who love to find new artists and songs. Several of the other limiting factors of the free service include: an inability to rewind, save playlists or see what will be playing next. A benefit to the free tier over other services is that they can still listen to music at 320kbps, unlike Spotify which limits your quality unless you pay for premium.
Check out the new trailer below:
What do you think of the free service? Leave a comment below!