Google has used its annual Google I/O developer conference to reveal a new streaming music subscription service called Google Play Music All Access. At the moment it’s just available in the USA and will cost $9.99 (£6.56) per month, although early adopters receive a $2 discount. Customers can store up to 20,000 of their own songs and listen to them alongside millions of online tracks. After browsing genres, customers can create their own online ‘radio station’.
The company has also introduced new tools for Android game developers and has revealed updates to the Google+ social network, to its search service and to its mapping platform.
In addition, a SIM-free Google-friendly version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 will be available exclusively on Google Play from next month.
James McQuivey of Forrester Research said “Music is one of the most powerful tools for engaging digital customers because they use it every day. If Google failed to make a play for the music business, it would later regret it because its customers would remain forever tied to another digital service even if Google Android and Chrome devices continue their dominance. That explains why Google Play is adding All Access. The problem with the digital music business is that it is already very mature. Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, all of them have made themselves valuable to users in a way that will be very hard to beat. To compete with existing music services, Google's All Access experience has to at least be as good as Spotify and Pandora, but unfortunately for Google, there's not much more you can do to impress music listeners short of making the music free.”
[Official Google blog]