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Google Adds Free Radio Component To Google Play Music

Google Adds Free Radio Component To Google Play Music

Google Play Music, the music streaming subscription service by Google that costs $10 a month, has not introduced any free element since it was launched, perhaps besides the usual free trials. But now, the tech giant is adding a free radio component to the service, which should allow people who have not subscribed yet to Google Play Music to be able to at least enjoy the music streaming service temporarily.


According to its blog post, Google is officially launching a free radio service that is ad supported, and should serve as a complementary component to the basic $10 a month subscription that allows paying subscribers to enjoy access to the full catalog of tracks in Google's library, as well as be provided with a locker for storing all the songs they already own. As explained by Elias Roman, the person who wrote the blog post and currently the chief executive officer of Songza (which Google acquired nearly a year ago), introducing a new tier to Google Play Music allows the company to reach out to even more potential subscribers by giving them a sample of what it is like to be subscribed to Google's music streaming service. 


And the timing is rather perfect, too. Industry watchers have seen a gradual shift by music consumers from purchasing physical albums and singles to downloading music tracks online to listening and subscribing to music streaming subscription services. And Google really needs to up its game. Music streaming is already a crowded field, with players like Spotify and Pandora, just to name a couple, all competing for consumers' ears, even as new entrants like Apple Music prepare to join in on the fun (Apple's service launches next week). 


The fact that Google has not really cemented its place yet in the world of music streaming is intriguing, to say the least. After all, the company owns and develops Android, considered the most widely used mobile operating system in the planet right now. If it can just harness the entire Android population and funnel them to its music streaming subscription service, it just might have a chance of competing with the Spotifys and Pandoras of the world. 


The new free radio component should help Google manage that. Its setup is similar to Songza, in which users can explore curated stations sorted according to genre, decade, mood, or the user's current activity. Users can also search songs by artist, album or track title, and then create their own stations. Consumers will have access to most of Google Play Music's catalog, except for specific ones that are available on demand. As for the ads, Google is looking at playing ad spots before songs are played.


The free radio element is launching first for US consumers. It is already available on web, and should be able to deploy to Android and iOS users in the next few days.