Sticking with discussing all things Google during Google I/O, I’ve decided to go a little more in depth about the new streaming service from Google called “Google Play Music All Access”. (That rolls off the tongue like a charm. It just makes me want to say it over and over again because it’s so catchy. Not.) But let’s forget about names and focus on the real questions people are asking themselves: Is this new service from Google the killer for current streaming apps?

Particularly, I’m thinking of Spotify and Pandora, although there are several other notable apps that serve as competitors as well – but these are the two I have the most experience with.

Pandora has been around for much longer than Spotify, and has a huge user base at around 200 million users. The service is considered “freemium” and entails users being able to create their own radio stations that play a variety of songs based off of a band or song that you decided to base your “radio station” off of. So, say I decide I wanted to make a “Kansas Radio Station”. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear songs from Boston, Survivor, Foreigner, Styx, or any other classic rock band as users who liked Kansas also probably showed interest in other bands of similar genres at the time they were popular. Pandora is a popular app across all platforms and even allows you to skip up to 6 times per hour, per station, until you reach a total of 12 skips per day. It might not seem like much, but if you’re skipping 6 times within the hour you might want to consider switching stations anyway. Unfortunately, if you come across two stations that you don’t like within a 24-hour period, you don’t get a third chance unless you sign up for Pandora One. Pandora One allows you more skips per day, but you’re still only limited to 6 per station. This service costs $3.99 a month.

Pandora was a big thing when it first came out. You had a little more control over what you got to listen to, and above all it was a perfect way to discover new music suited to your tastes. But what about being able to listen to a song you really liked again? (And again? And again?) You can’t do that – at least, not all in a row. If you’re lucky you might come across it one or two more times, but you still had to wait.

Then Spotify comes out, and currently has 24 million users – only a fraction of how many users Pandora has, but it has only been out for two years. Spotify is another “freemium” service that works in many ways that Pandora doesn’t. You have the option for music discovery, and if you find a song you like then you can simply place it in a playlist that you create (although I have found that Pandora provides music suggestions that are more properly attuned to my taste than Spotify does – personal experience). As a free service, you occasionally have to suffer through the occasional commercial, but otherwise I have found it to be a great service for building playlists. In fact, I liked it so much that I bought the $10 premium service in order to skip commercials and enable offline listening, which lets you “download” the music (within the client, not to your computer or mobile device) and allows you to listen to your playlist even when you have no wireless available to you. Did I mention that you could skip as many apps as you like?

But now we have Google Play Music All Access - but what exactly is it? Simply put, it’s Google’s attempt at entering the fad that is the streaming music industry. To be honest, it’s not off to a bad start. For starters, you've got the name “Google” in it; if nothing else, you've got that. However, All Access does have an extensive library that about matches Spotify's at over 20 million songs which is impressive to start off with – Spotify didn’t hit that benchmark until around December of 2012. All Access also features a Pandora-like feature that allows you to search for a band or song and it will match you by creating a playlist of similar bands or songs of the same genre. You also have offline listening. It’s a perfect blend of Pandora and Spotify, but it does come at a price.

Unlike the other two "freemium" services I previously mentioned, Google Play Music All Access does not currently state that it offers any type of free service. The service will come at a price of $9.99 a month, with a 30-day free trial. If you sign up for the service before June 30th, you will get a discounted flat rate of $7.99 a month (which is not a bad deal if you pay $9.99 a month for Spotify's service already). Unfortunately, Google is doing itself a great disservice by not including its more frugal audience, which is surprising given that Google usually takes the cheap road when it comes to services and makes most services free, or almost free.

For people like me, I feel like Google Play Music All Access may be taking away a good chunk of users who use the Premium version of apps like Spotify, or even Pandora, but I do not think that it's the end-all of streaming music unless they end up releasing an option for free services. Where most people would have to seek out and download apps like Spotify and Pandora, Googly Play Music All Access will most likely already be preloaded on Android devices – if it had all of the above, including the free services, it would be game over for most of these other apps in just a few short years. But until then, I don't see that happening.

Readers, what are your thoughts on All Access? Do you plan on purchasing a monthly plan from the new service from Google, or will you stick with the service you already have? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Images via Gizmodo

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43 Reactions to this post

"Will you be subscribing to Google Play Music All Access, or sticking to another streaming music app?"

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Anonymous Google music allows up to 10 devices per account as opposed to 3 on spotify. Google also seems to allow simultaneously playing on two devices. Both huge advantages over spotify.
Javier Sanchez Ojeda
Javier Sanchez Ojeda Is more expensive than Pandora One , So nope
Dan Tucker
Dan Tucker Spotify user now. Just signed up for trial. So far, it's a wash... Some things I like better on Google, some things I like better on Spotify. I have some cool playlists on Spotify that are shared by other users. I think I might miss that. I also share my Spotify account with my daughter, but with the early adopter discount she could have her own account for only a net +$6/month. So far, a toss up.
Gary Acebuche
Gary Acebuche I like it, but it needs the crossfader setting just like in Spotify
Garret Byrne
Garret Byrne No, I like my music free lol
Andrew Bissel
Andrew Bissel Already subscribed. It's worth it
Richard W Krajewski
Richard W Krajewski I subscribed straight after the announcement yesterday..
Fuzzylobes Terrence Benjamin
Fuzzylobes Terrence Benjamin N.O. I rather just buy my music like how it is now.
Wojciech Gradzinski
Wojciech Gradzinski first I need to have it in my country lol
Jonathan Persson
Jonathan Persson Nah, it's Google.
Alberto Garcia Flores
Alberto Garcia Flores If I were to pay a monthly fee I'd probably use this Google play music for sure, I trust anything that Google creates. But since I'm not the kind of guy who pays for this kind of things, I just stay with Pandora free.
Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson I'm trying it now and like it. I have been having problems with spotify premium so I hope this works! The 7.99 price for early adoption is a nice little perk too ;-)
Waii Hui
Waii Hui No, I don't want to pay for music.
Josh Billingsley
Josh Billingsley Pandora one user! Like of love it. Got a promotion 2 for 1 at Christmas time... $20 a year.. Im straight
Gordon Christie
Gordon Christie No spotify is far better
Gabriel Sotomayor
Gabriel Sotomayor I did and I'm loving it so far, and people are dumb enough to not notice that you can save the music on your device too, it's freaking great!!
Corey Stock
Corey Stock Already got it. I will never have to use any other music service ever again.
Shawn Poling
Shawn Poling Spotify
DeAndre Ruffin
DeAndre Ruffin I prefer to actually own the songs I listen too, especially given how crappy my carriers data network coverage is.
Asa Salvatore
Asa Salvatore I would try it,I want to try it, but it won't let me bill to my Verizon account. Suckish.
Praveen Nair
Praveen Nair Only in US! bummer
Eddie Sierra-Jordan
Eddie Sierra-Jordan Am I the only one who appreciates having a clean UI with organized artists, albums, tracks instead of just playlists. I was getting tired and annoyed having to figure out what playlist to stick a certain song or having to remember where I put a song at. I jumped on this service the moment it went live and I not looking back simply because google will continue to improve it. This is version 1.0 folks, 1.0! What do you have to lose, 30 day free trial and if you don't like it, ditch it and if you do, hey you just saved two dollars a month off the regular price.
David In
David In Subscribed, loving it so far
Robert Pritts
Robert Pritts 7.99 not 9.99 ...streaming music not really my thing. Rather buy the song and have it whenever I want.
Jason Vargas
Jason Vargas Its cheaper than Spotify and its already in my phone y not
Jake Gambino
Jake Gambino just switched
Austin Craig Taylor
Austin Craig Taylor I already subscribed. I won't be renewing my Pandora One subscription this year.
Jon Kabat
Jon Kabat Spotify has been good to me. I think I'll stick with them.
Alex Villalpando
Alex Villalpando If it had iOS support for my iPad most likely
Dee Jae
Dee Jae Well we know Google... they're only going to make improvements
Eric Donatello Basford
Eric Donatello Basford why when I can have spotify which is better than everything ever invented
Miguel Rodriguez
Miguel Rodriguez I'm very satisfied with Spotify premium - I see no reason to switch.
Nehemiah George
Nehemiah George Gonna checkout the trial!
Jarrett Lennon Kaufman
Jarrett Lennon Kaufman I already have. Fantastic.
Jose Be Julme
Jose Be Julme I will try it out for the trial but Spotify Premium will always be favorite.
Vicente Reyes
Vicente Reyes Lol. I have the all access and I have zero issues. I'm dumping spotify/ slacker/ pandora
Kevin Calabrese
Kevin Calabrese I really wish they had a nice desktop app like Spotify, then 'll subscribe.
Gerry Gilroy
Gerry Gilroy are u joking me!!! i can barely get the 5000 songs i have to stream to my phone over wifi... why would i pay for it to lag?
Mark Belkowski
Mark Belkowski I dont use any of that streaming music stuff.
Crys Tal
Crys Tal I would not subscribe, but I am sure many will.
Prince Raz
Prince Raz I like google play but on my galaxy 3, it does not accept all my music that I have on the phone nor on tf card. I think it only does that with the samsungs but its a great app.
Ethan Ramsey
Ethan Ramsey Spotify premium for me
Fernando Gonzalez
Fernando Gonzalez Gonna try it out. If it can get albums as fast as Spotify then goodbye Spotify

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