While the world decides whether or not it should ditch Pandora and Spotify for Apple Music which is releasing later this month (June 30), Google today is making sure that people don’t forget it too has a music streaming service.

Play Music

The Mountain View-based giant today announces that Play Music will now offer a free, ad-supported version of the service to users. The free version, however, will restrict users from picking a specific song as you could do on the paid client, but instead, will allow you to choose from a range of human-curated specific playlists based on genre, mood, activity, or band. The company says that these playlists are curated by people behind Songza, a music startup it acquired last year. It’s pretty similar to Pandora’s radio service, and much like it, it is also available only for the US users.

“We hope you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll consider subscribing to Google Play Music to play without ads, take your music offline, create your own playlists, and listen to any of the 30 million songs in our library on any device and as much as you’d like,” says Google Play Music product manager Elias Roman.

Furthermore, the company also announces that users will be able to download and play up to 50,000 songs from their own collection for free. The company hopes that this free service will drive its paid service user base. The free version of Play Music is available on the web starting today, and will launch on iOS and Android in the coming weeks.

Too little, too late?

The free music version of the service comes two years after Google launched the paid version of Play Music. The service offers more than 30 million songs, and its paid subscription costs $10 a month. Google realizes that the music streaming business is getting aggressively competitive, and if it doesn’t do anything about it now, it will soon become irrelevant in the game.

The company’s decision to not release the service in countries like India, however, is a big downer. One reason why Google hasn’t been able to release it in other nations could be the licensing trouble that it will have to go through, and the partnership maze with local music companies to load up its music library. But that is evidently hurting Play Music in getting traction. In comparison to Apple Music which will be available in more than 100 nations, Google Music is still available in less than two dozen countries.


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Manish is pursuing a degree in Computer Science and Engineering but spends more time in writing about technology. He has written for a number of Indian and international publications including BetaNews, BGR India, WinBeta, MakeTechEasier, MediaNama, and Digit magazine among others. When not writing, you would find him ranting about the state of digital journalism on Twitter.