With Google Subscription music, you’ll get music on demand. There are already numerous music subscription services available online already. However, this is the first and only service that is solely for mobile devices running on the Android platform or web access. With this new subscription service, Google goes up against established (and popular) services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, and a number of others. What sets this new service apart from the others? Let’s take a look and find out.
Google Calls it “Radio Without Rules”
The Google Subscription music service is officially called Google Play Music All Access. Subscribers will be able to put millions of songs from the Google Play store into their playlists. They’ll also be able to combine the music they already own and have on their hard drives or mobile devices with the online library to create a playlist that appeals to them. The ability to combine online music with music that is stored locally is something that sets Google Play Music All Access apart from the other services. Subscribers will also be able to create different “radio stations” using the music from individual artists or bands. This sounds cool to me because I occasionally get onto a kick where I only listen to a single artist for much of the day.
These playlists can be manually built up by browsing through both your owned media catalog/library and by browsing through the millions of available songs on the company’s servers. There is also a feature called “Explore” that recommends songs to users based upon their listening habits.
This means that if, like me, you listen to artists such as Eric Clapton, Genesis, The Beatles, and Queen, more than anything else, the service may recommend other artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, BB King, and other classic rock greats. Google has inked deals with all three of the major record labels, which means that whether you like classical music, opera arias, classic rock, blues, jazz, or any other type of music, you should have no trouble filling up your playlist with songs that are to your liking.
“Radio without Rules,” But Not Without Cost
The new Google subscription music service may be “Radio without rules,” but it isn’t without cost. Unlike Spotify and the others, Google Play Music All Access will not have a free option other than the 30-day free trial all subscribers get. Users in the U.S. will be paying $10 a month for this subscription ($8 if you’re an “early adopter”).
Industry pundits are of mixed opinions about the lack of a free option. Alice Enders, from music industry consulting firm Enders Analysis, says that Spotify’s ad-driven “freemium” tier has slowed the service down considerably. However, others point out that out of the 24 million people reported to be using Spotify, only six million of them are paying customers.
Others pointed out the fact that Google Play Music All Access is the company’s fourth foray into the arena of delivering music to customers. They also point out the fact that the previous attempts were not at all successful for the company.
Google had originally planned for this service to be a direct competitor to the streaming music subscription service that Apple has been trying to put together for some time. However, according to a story in Wired, that desire has been short-circuited by one enterprising iOS developer, James Clancey.
James has created an iOS app he calls gMusic that runs on iOS devices and gives users access to Google Music. He has also added an updated that gives iOS users full access to Google’s All Access.
My Take on This Google Subscription – Music Is Personal
I was one of the early adopters of the MP3 music format. I converted all my old vinyl and CDs to MP3 almost as soon as I bought them when we were first introduced to the MP3 format so many years ago. Even though I have my name on the Internet with every piece I write, I am actually a very private person.
This means I tend to minimize the options for companies to take my Internet and computer usage and commercialize it. Call me paranoid if you will, but I don’t like the idea of someone outside my circle of close and trusted friends having access to any of my habits, whether they are viewing, listening, or browsing habits. There’s also the fact that I already own all of my favorite music from my favorite artists. Most of that music is on SD cards I have in my phone and Android tablet, ready to play and enjoy. This means that most of what would be available to me on All Access would be stuff I either just don’t like or that I detest. So, why pay for access to a Google subscription music service?