Google Play Music adds free, ad-supported radio feature ahead of Apple Music launch

Google announced today that it is adding a free tier to its Google Play Music service. The new feature provides non-subscribers with what Google is describing as an ad-supported radio option with curated stations. Google Play Music’s radio option will be available for users in the United States at launch with availability on the web starting today and support on iOS and Android following soon. Similar to Apple’s approach with Apple Music, Google says it has “music experts” creating these “curated” playlists:

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“Our team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza, crafts each station song by song so you don’t have to. If you’re looking for something specific, you can browse our curated stations by genre, mood, decade or activity, or you can search for your favorite artist, album or song to instantly create a station of similar music.”

The new radio feature builds on Google’s purchase of music streaming service Songza almost a year ago, adding a Pandora/iTunes Radio style feature to Google Play Music not unlike Spotify’s free option for non-subscribers on mobile.

The full Google Play Music product remains in the all-access package of Google Play’s 30 million songs available for streaming or offline playback for $9.99/month after a 60-day free trial.

The new radio feature comes just one week before Apple launches its own subscription music service. While Apple Music will retain iTunes Radio streaming for non-subscribers, the company is taking a more terrestrial radio-like approach with its Beats 1 radio station with live DJs steaming music 24/7 around the world.

Google Play Music’s new ad-supported radio feature is out now on the web and coming soon to Android and iOS. Apple Music kicks off in one week for $9.99/month or $14.99/month for families after a 3-month free trial.

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  1. Walter Tizzano - 8 years ago

    Apple should have done the same, instead of this problem-making three months free trial.

    • whatyoutalkingboutwillis - 8 years ago

      ITunes radio is already available

      • Walter Tizzano - 8 years ago

        Will still be available when Apple Music is released? And, most importantly, will it be available in every country?

      • rnc - 8 years ago

        Apple Music includes free radio, without Ads…

        Your point?

        Apple should put ads on their radios?

  2. James Alexander - 8 years ago

    Who cares Apple already does this now. iTunes radio.

    • Walter Tizzano - 8 years ago

      It doesn’t do it in most countries.

      • samuelsnay - 8 years ago

        Nobody does it for most countries, considering there are hundreds and hundreds of countries out there. Quit shitting on Apple for no reason.

      • Jim Frando (@RabidNunn) - 8 years ago

        So now you are worried that it might not be available in EVERY country? What countries do you live in? All of them I suppose.

      • rnc - 8 years ago

        And Google does?

  3. Index Apk - 8 years ago


    Wonder why they suddenly did this? Not saying that this is a response to something but wonder why.

    Play music is a really good product….

  4. vamseenunna - 8 years ago

    Why the quotes on “music experts” and “curated”? Songza was the first to pitch the whole idea of human curation, not Apple.

    • Jim Frando (@RabidNunn) - 8 years ago

      Oh my God, he put quotes around some words and you have to throw a fit? Grow the F up.

      • vamseenunna - 8 years ago

        yep, it totally looks like “I’m” the one throwing a fit here ;)

    • galley99 - 8 years ago

      Radio disc jockeys have been curating playlists for more than 60 years.

    • rnc - 8 years ago

      Beats (acquired by Apple) were the first to pitch the idea, not Songza, or whatever they are called…

      • vamseenunna - 8 years ago

        thanks for promoting me to look this up. Songza launched in Nov 2007 whereas Beats Music (or whatever they’re called), was developed under codename Daisy in 2012 and officially launched in Jan 2014.

  5. Paul Andrew Dixon - 8 years ago

    Google play music adds free…

    what’s free… what does it add?

    you don’t spell ‘adverts’ ‘addverts’ — so i should be ads free!!!

  6. francoborgo - 8 years ago

    Will Taylor Swift work to remove the 60 Days free trial for Artist like she did for Apple.

    • francoborgo - 8 years ago

      Will Taylor Swift work to help Artist to get paid during the 60 Days free trial of Google like she did for the 90 days of Apple.

  7. cxpblg - 8 years ago

    OH NO!

    I hope this doesn’t spell the end of Songza itself! Unlike all the “Free” crap out there Songza doesn’t have any audio ads, only visual ads in the app.

    So this Google-branded thing will undoubtedly have ads and will thus suck in comparison to Songza.

    I was shocked GOOG didn’t immediately switch the Songza service off the moment they bought them like they have done with so many acquisitions (Sparrow, Simplify Media, etc. etc.)


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.