Thursday, May 16, 2013

Google Launches 'All Access' Music Subscription Service

Benjy Eisen/RollingStone

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
This morning, Google unveiled a new music subscription service, Google Play Music All Access, at the search giant's annual I/O developers' conference in San Francisco. The service, which launches in the U.S. today, is similar to other subscription music services in that it allows users to stream from millions of songs across multiple devices, including laptops, tablets and smartphones. The service comes with a somewhat standard $9.99/month price tag, following a free 30-day trial. Users who sign up for the trial before June 30th will enjoy a discounted early-adapter rate of $7.99.

During the keynote address, Google's Chris Yerga (Engineering Director, Android) described Google Play Music All Access as "a uniquely Google approach to a Google music service." Hence, searching for new music is as easy as typing the name of an artist, album or song in the search bar.

Where All Access may stand apart from other, similar services is in its ability to find music that is unfamilar to the listener. All Access "blends" users' music libraries with Google's extensive databank, and it harnesses Google's wide user data to offer personal suggestions and predict direct hits based on past history, social circles and additional collected information.

"Music unites us," said Yerga. "No matter who you are or where you're from, the joy from music is constant." But Yerga also noted that sometimes trying to manage a music library can be cumbersome and, despite having more choices available than ever before, finding enjoyable new music can be a bit of a chore. All Access aims to help guide the user through the process of discovery.

Additionally, All Access allows the user to transform any song or artist that they're currently listening to into an interactive radio station: as Google creates a playlist in the background, the user can rearrange or even swipe away songs in the queue. And "because we're Google," says Yerga, "you can always search at the top."

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