Google announces music subscription service

Google announces music subscription service
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POSTED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 3:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 3:04am

Google is taking on music-streaming services like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio with its own music subscription service called Google Play All Access.

The company announced the new service, which launches Wednesday, at its Google I/O conference.

All Access will combine the millions of songs in the Google library with users' own music collections, which can be uploaded to Google Play. The service will work on the Web and on mobile devices.

A Listen Now feature uses Google's analytics powers to pick out tunes and artists that it thinks a listener will enjoy. It looks at their past listening habits and, over time, figures out what someone likes and what they will probably skip. The Listen Now view shows a grid of music stations as well as albums.

There is also a human component to the new service: Google has music editors curating the songs in distinct radio stations.

The new Google service offers more control than some of its rivals. Unlike Pandora, for example, you can see a list of songs coming up on a station and delete any songs you don't want to hear in advance.

"It's as laid back as you want to or as interactive as you want it to be," said Chris Yerga, Google's engineering director for Android.

Yerga said that discovering music online has become "more like work" than it was in the golden days of digging through stacks of vinyl in a record store.

Google Play All Access will cost $9.99 a month in the U.S. after a one-month free trial period. Unlike Spotify or Pandora, there is no free version. 

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