Google Launches Free Music Streaming Service
As Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal continue the digital music streaming arms race, Google has decided to throw its hat fully in the ring. Though you could always play your personal music library through Google Play, the tech giant now offers two different options to tap into their massive catalog: a $9.99-per-month subscription service and a free version, the latter of which will be supported by ads. For now, the free edition will only be available in the United States; worldwide support is expected later this year. On their blog, Google touts the many benefits of Google Play Music, which include curated, themed playlists and a library of over 30 million songs. Unlike the monthly subscription service, the free version will not allow users to play songs while offline or to search for specific songs and albums.
The paid subscription service includes a 30-day free trial similar to the one Apple recently caved to pay artists for. Representatives for Google said that the amount of money paid to those who hold a song's publishing rights will vary from the free service to the paid one, which would deviate from the model Spotify and other streaming services employ. (Google declined to specify how the different payout structures would work.) That issue--of artist compensation in exchange for their music being streamed--is sure to play out in courts and in board rooms over the next several years. One of the major issues thus far is that up-front advances, a major part of many streaming deals, are not subject to being distributed among artists.