Google has made a move into territory occupied by streaming giants like Spotify and Apple. The Google Play service will now offer a free tier to their customers.
Spotify and Apple have all but wrecked the curve when it comes to music streaming services, with both giants offering free tiers to their consumers. As recently as a month ago, Apple even went so far as to suggest that music labels leave Spotify and sign a deal with Apple to ensure higher profits for those music labels, many of which are struggling to make a profit in the digital age of music. Spotify has been hit with a few devastating blows recently, as artists such as Jay-Z and Bjork have gone so far as to pull their recent records from Spotify, citing both creative and commercial issues with the streaming giant.
Now, a mere month after confirming that HBO Now would be coming to Google devices, the internet giant has just announced the addition of a new free tier to their Google Play music streaming services. Users who take advantage of the free tier can listen to music through Google’s pre-created radio stations and playlists, and if those users upgrade to the payment plan (currently offered at $9.99 per month), they can take advantage of full, unlimited access to a gigantic swatch of musical artists. As with Spotify and other similar streaming services, Google Play’s free tier will generate revenue through advertisements, which means that users of the free tier will have to listen to their music while hearing commercial advertisements every so often.
Many musical artists have taken issue with the concept of free music streaming, as such an offer cuts into revenue earned by artists by a huge percentage. Apple is aggressively pursuing artists to dump their contracts with other streaming services and offering an unprecedented 71% share of the profits earned by their venture. Although no specifics have been released, Google has stated that it plans to offer artists “another way to earn revenue” through their free tier.