Google announced today that it is adding a free tier to its Google Play Music service. The new feature provides non-subscribers with what Google is describing as an ad-supported radio option with curated stations. Google Play Music’s radio option will be available for users in the United States at launch with availability on the web starting today and support on iOS and Android following soon. Similar to Apple’s approach with Apple Music, Google says it has “music experts” creating these “curated” playlists: “Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.”
The new radio feature builds on Google’s purchase of music streaming service Songza almost a year ago, adding a Pandora/iTunes Radio style feature to Google Play Music not unlike Spotify’s free option for non-subscribers on mobile.
The full Google Play Music product remains in the all-access package of Google Play’s 30 million songs available for streaming or offline playback for $9.99/month after a 60-day free trial.
The new radio feature comes just one week before Apple launches its own subscription music service. While Apple Music will retain iTunes Radio streaming for non-subscribers, the company is taking a more terrestrial radio-like approach with its Beats 1 radio station with live DJs steaming music 24/7 around the world.
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