Google announces free, ad-supported version of Play Music

In what could be seen as a move to try to steal some of the limelight from Apple, Google has launched an ad-supported version of its Play Music streaming service.

It will run as a radio service, with preset curated playlists by genre, mood, decade or activity available. Users will also be able to create stations based on favourite artists, albums or songs too, but specific songs can’t be listened to on demand.

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Elias Roman, product manager and CEO of Songza said in an official blog post that Google “hopes you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll consider subscribing to Google Play Music without ads.”

A Play Music subscriptions comes with offline playback, access to 30 million songs and videos from YouTube. Google also offers storage for each individual for up to 50,000 songs in the cloud.

The news comes a week before Apple launches its Music streaming service. Despite Google’s Android operating system accounting for around 78 per cent of the total market share (according to IDC), it has struggled in the music-streaming sector against competition from the likes of Spotify, Tidal and Deezer. Apple's presence will pile the pressure on even further.

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Max is a staff writer for What Hi-Fi?'s sister site, TechRadar, in Australia. But being the wonderful English guy he is, he helps out with content across a number of Future sites, including What Hi-Fi?. It wouldn't be his first exposure to the world of all things hi-fi and home cinema, as his first role in technology journalism was with What Hi-Fi? in the UK. Clearly he pined to return after making the move to Australia and the team have welcomed him back with arms wide open.