Google Offers Free Streaming

While Apple, Spotify, superstars like Taylor Swift and even many indie acts are facing off over premium versus freemium tier streaming services, leave it to a company like Google to simply go its own way. 

Google announced via its blog June 23 that Google Play Music is now offering a free, ad-supported version in the U.S. With the free service, users aren’t able to choose the songs they listen to, as Google is instead offering curated stations by its music experts – the folks behind Songza – covering various decades, activities, genres and moods.

However Google also noted that if users upgrade to a $9.99 per month model, they’ll be able to listen to more than 30 million songs in the Google library on any device, create playlists, take the music offline, and store and play up to 50,000 songs from their own collection for free.

Subscribers will also get special ad-free features for YouTube. Swift recently took Apple Music to task for failing to pay royalties to artists on streams during its three-month free trial – and won – but it looks like Google plans to pay artists during a free monthlong trial period it’s offering.

A specific royalty rate structure is unclear at this time, though the Los Angeles Times noted that the company said rates would differ between free and paid tiers.

For years Googe Play Music has allowed users to store their own collections for free and purchase albums for streaming or download from the Google Play Store.