Google takes on Spotify and iTunes with $9.99 music streaming service

Google Play Music All Access (slide 001)

The Internet giant kicked off its annual Google I/O developer conference with a three-hour long (!) keynote at San Francisco’s Moscone West, the same venue Apple reserved for its own five-day event next month. During the keynote, Google executives announced a much-rumored streaming music service that’s bound to give headache to the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Pandora.

Dubbed somewhat confusingly Google Play Music All Access, Google’s Android executive Chris Yerga noted on stage that “music unites us” and is “universal”. And with computing and mobile devices intertwined into our lives “there’s potential to bring that joy together.” Go past the fold for full details…

In exchange for ten bucks a month, Google Play Music All Access let you stream songs from Google’s catalog of million tracks. The service will be available on the web at (via any standard web browser) and as a native app for Android devices (no mention of an iOS build yet).

Google Play Music All Acces (The Verge 002)

“What if we gave you access to millions of tracks, in addition to your iTunes library?”, Yerga asked his audience?

Indeed, the All Access thing combines your existing music collection and the millions of songs available for streaming into one massive database that you can explore quickly by tapping the power of built-in Google search.

“We’re Google, so there’s always Search at the top,” Yerga quipped.

In addition to streaming, you can buy any streamed song with a tap and own it forever.

Another killer feature: radio without rules.

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Taking advantage of knowledge Google has on you, the feature lets you turn any track into a radio station tailored to your listening habits. You can also edit the radio queue to manually remove music you don’t like or add your cherry-picked tracks.

All Access also supports playlists, has curated Featured section, and includes personalized recommendations akin to Apple’s iTunes Genius. These expose folks to new music they may like based on what they’ve listened to in the past.

The Verge has more on that:

As demoed on an Android device — it also works in a standard web browser — All Access incorporates both local tracks and those available for streaming into one master searchable library, a marked improvement over much of its streaming competition.

Google will offer a free 30-day trial so you could try out the service before subscribing.

It gets even better: if you’re an early adopter, Google will reduce the $9.99 tier to $7.99, a $24 saving over the course of twelve months, provided you start your trial by June 30.

Google Play Music All Acces (sing up for free trial)

By contrast, Spotify offers a free, ad-supported tier on desktops along a Premium ad-free service across mobile and desktop, also costing ten bucks a month. Google’s All Access is a paid-only affair so it should be interesting seeing how the two battle it out for the hears and minds of consumers

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Spotify’s advantage is Facebook integration and a Timeline app that sends lots of traffic to Spotify, helping turn listeners into buyers. Google will of course tap its Google+ social thing, even if it’s far less popular than Facebook.

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It’s Spotify’s game to lose as Google has pretty much everything Spotify does.

All Access may as well stand poised to drive music lovers away from iTunes, which only offers individual song downloads. Although a streaming music offering from Apple dubbed iRadio has reportedly been long in the making, we’ll have to wait until WWDC to see if there’s merit to those rumors.

No matter how you look at it, the ball is now in Apple’s court.

So, what’s your take on Play Store All Access?

Image top of post via Evan Ponter.