Google to offer free version of Google Play Music

June 24 00:40 2015

Google will offer a free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music two years after the debut of its paid subscription service. The move comes as the streaming wars intensify with the imminent launch of Apple Music and the continued growth of Spotify. The ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the U.S. It will be available on the Web on Tuesday and on Android and iOS devices later this week.40 Percent of Internet Traffic Halts Due To Google Outage

“We want to attract even more users, give them a taste of the service and hope they subscribe over time,” said Zahavah Levine, vice president of partnerships for Google Play. Radio stations on the service are curated by music experts — including staffers from Songza — so users can browse stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or by artist, song or album.

The already existing paid subscription gives consumers access to other features such as skipping ads, listening to music offline, creating playlists and perusing the library of 30 million songs. Subscribers also get early access to YouTube’s new subscription service, which Google currently is testing. That lets viewers skip ads while watching millions of videos for a monthly fee. Levine declined to say how many subscribers Google Play Music has. MIDiA Research analyst Mark Mulligan said Google is a “minor player” in the streaming market.

Google wants to be on every screen and on every device so online advertisers can target consumers wherever they are and no matter what they are doing. With more consumers streaming music on smartphones and tablets, Google is looking to keep people hooked on Google services and Android mobile devices. “Free is what Google does best — they know how to build user engagement around free and monetize it with advertising better than anyone else,” Mulligan said.