Google Play Music gets free ad-supported radio stations, is now a serious Apple Music competitor

Google Play Music gets free ad-supported radio stations, is now a serious Apple Music competitor
With a week to go before Apple launches its debated Music service, Google has just updated its Play Music service to include free, ad-supported radio stations curated by music professionals.

At the moment, the free radio stations are only available through the web, but Google says that the official Play Music apps for iOS and Android will be updated to include the new features by the end of the week.

The free radio stations will be an ad-supported version of the Songza-like functionality that Google integrated into Play Music last year. The user will be able to generate playlists centered around specific listening scenarios, such as workouts, driving, or social hangouts. The service will also allow you to listen to curated stations that cater to a specific genre, decade, or mood. All of these playlists will be curated by people, not machines.

Although music 'experts' will generate all of the playlists types that we've mentioned above, Google will still rely on algorithms for other playlists types, as Play Music can come up with a fresh station when the user searches for a particular artist, album, or song.

Free radio stations come with only a limited number of skips, they won't come with a rewind button, and they also lack information on the upcoming songs in a playlist. All in all, free subscribers will get little control over the music that they're listening to for free. This seems to be the middle ground between offering free ad-supported content and the Spotify approach, which means offering entire albums up for free on-demand listening.

Google's goal with the new free ad-supported radio stations is to convince users to become a paid Google Play Music subscriber. The full service costs $9.99 per month (just like Apple Music), and subscribers are granted access to a library of 30 million songs, while also being able to download music for offline listening. 

Paid subscribers will also get access to human-curated radio stations, but in an improved version, allowing users to skip at will through playlists, or even download a playlist for offline listening. Just in case you're wondering, not the entire playlist will be downloaded by default, just about 25 songs.

Google Play Music is a now serious competitor against Apple Music, as we're forced to note a striking similarity between the new free stations that Google added to Play Music and the Apple Beats 1 station. However, where Google Play Music has the upper hand is the fact that its free stations will remain free forever, while Apple will only offer three months of free trial. The Play Music personal locker (users can also upload up to 50,000 songs from their personal collections to Play Music for free) is also another ace up Google's sleeve.

Both Apple Music and Google Play Music have some potential of competing against Spotify, but both also have a long way to go before becoming a true rival.

source: Google via TheVerge



1. AlikMalix unregistered

Yey, more choice...

2. waddup121 unregistered


3. Tziggy14

Posts: 626; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

Not even close. All they added was features directed towards Pandora rather than Apple Music. Plus Apple Music Even so, Apple Music already has iTunes radio to counterattack.

7. tedkord

Posts: 17478; Member since: Jun 17, 2009


14. Antimio

Posts: 313; Member since: Nov 11, 2013


4. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

'-' am i the only one who has my music on my phone and does not give 2 fcks about Apple Music, Pandora, Spotify, Google Play Music or any other streaming app/program/service?

6. Tziggy14

Posts: 626; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

Yes. You're stuck in the 2000s. Time to get with the times my friend. Music streaming is way.

8. tedkord

Posts: 17478; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Music streaming is definitely not the way in the age of capped bandwidth. Plus it's useless without a good signal. I have my entire CD collection on the microsd card in my phone, so I've got music no matter what.

11. Android_Lollipop

Posts: 155; Member since: May 05, 2015

Well said. In India, the music streaming services just got mushroomed out and none adopted to this yet in our age of capped bandwidth

12. kryme

Posts: 469; Member since: Oct 24, 2013

are we not in the 2000s still??? i have 10+ gigs of music on my sd card which is backed up on my google drive... i play wat song i wanna hear without no ads...

17. Cyberchum

Posts: 1111; Member since: Oct 24, 2012

You should have said TO ME or IMO. How is it the way for me? No tell me, I'm all ears.

18. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

I have 50+ GBs of music on my phone, most of which I ripped from my CDs and I tell You this is the way. No ads, every song I want 2 clicks away, much better quality and I don't get ripped off by carriers for paying for 50 GB data plan.

9. InmortanJoe

Posts: 14; Member since: May 23, 2015

You sir, are not the only one...I have 17GB of music in my phone, I DOWNLOAD music. I laugh when people talk about spotify, etc... "Streaming music" with their mobile internet, waisting their data. That means if these people have no connection...They dont have music, how sad...

10. elitewolverine

Posts: 5192; Member since: Oct 28, 2013

My music is on my onedrive. I don't feel like carrying around a 80GB card, even though I have a 128GB right now (mainly for movies for the kiddos).

16. Tizo101

Posts: 604; Member since: Jun 05, 2015

glad to read I'm not the only who doesn't stream music... I mean how stupid can you get? video content yes, music is a HUGE NO!

19. JasonX

Posts: 54; Member since: Feb 11, 2015

I'm with you. I'd blow through my data in two days with the amount of music I listen to. 22gbs of music on my phone and I always have options.

20. alias3800

Posts: 63; Member since: Jul 09, 2014

Forever alone, yes.

5. SuperAndroid507

Posts: 361; Member since: Jan 06, 2014

PA why I'm seeing a frickin snake eating a monstrous bat in the mobile version of the website? It's annoyingly disturbing X(

13. DerryAhmad

Posts: 296; Member since: May 05, 2012

"Google Play Music gets free ad-supported radio stations, is now a serious Apple Music competitor".. except Google Play Music isn't available in my country (Indonesia), whereas iTunes Store/Radio is. I expect Apple Music will be available making it the biggest Streaming Service available here. Currently, I'm enjoying using Nokia Music on my Android and collections of albums and songs on my iPhone.

15. vincelongman

Posts: 5755; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

iTunes Radio is in Indonesia?

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