Thursday, May 16, 2013

Google I/O 2013: Google announces 'Google Play All Access' streaming music service

It's official. On Wednesday, at Google I/O 2013, the company announced its new subscription music service, Google Play Music All Access.

Rumors of the service first broke earlier this year. On Tuesday, it was reported that Google had managed to ink deals with all three of the major record labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music, and Sony Music), which led many to believe the company would announce its Spotify rival on Wednesday -- which it did.

However, unlike most Google services, Google Play All Access won't be free. In fact, unlike Spotify, the service won't even have a free tier. The service is priced at $9.99 a month, although there is a 30-day free trial.

Early adopters should take note. Those who begin the free 30-day-trial by June 30th will -- if they opt in to the paid version -- pay just $7.99. It is unclear if that promotional price would be permanent for those signing up early.

Google's Chris Yerga introduced the service by saying:
Music unites us, it’s universal. We set out to build a music service that didn’t just give you access to a world of music, but helped to guide you through it.
As you'd expect, Google Play All Access has a recommendation engine that builds a song list based on what you listen to. Songs can be removed from your playlists with a "GMail-box-like" (for those familiar with the swipe-to-delete function in the Android Gmail app) gesture.

The service will roll out in the U.S. first; other countries will follow “thereafter."

With the announcement, Google has beaten Apple to the punch. Apple is expected to unveil its own streaming music service, nicknamed -- for now -- iRadio, later this year.

While Apple has been trying to seal music label deals with the record labels, iRadio is said to be more in the Pandora-like. Google took potshots at the still non-existent iRadio, calling All Access "radio without rules," adding that All Access allows users to create "radio stations" of specific particular artists, which would be comparable functionality to Pandora without any of that service's limitations.

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