Google Play Music goes free, days before launch of Apple's streaming service

Apple doesn't have a free tier — and has been trying to stop Spotify from having one — but Google Play Music has jumped out ahead of its rival's big launch

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The Independent Tech

Google has launched a free streaming music service — days before Apple releases its own music streaming service, which will have no free tier.

Google Play Music already has a subscription-based service, where users pay monthly to listen to an unlimited amount of tracks.

Today the technology giant announced a free version, made up of curated playlists designed for different times of the day and tailored towards what you are doing.

The new free service will include adverts, similar to the model on rival Spotify.

That set-up has provoked criticism from people in the industry including Taylor Swift, who has complained giving away music for free devalues it. Apple Music won’t have a free tier after its initial trial period, and is expected to have Taylor Swift’s catalogue — despite a high-profile fallout earlier this week.

Apple's much-publicised new Music service launches next Tuesday, and will be free for the first three months. In the US, Google has already beaten Apple to the market with this announcement.

In a blog post, Google product manager Elias Roman said: "Even if you're not already a Google Play Music subscriber, we've got you covered.

"Google Play Music now has a free, ad-supported version in the US, giving you a new way to find just the right music - and giving artists another way to earn revenue.

"The new free, ad-supported version of Google Play Music is launching first in the US. It's available on the web today, and is rolling out this week to Android and iOS."

Google said it hopes the new free version will encourage people to sign up for the subscription-based tier of the service.

Earlier this week, Taylor Swift penned an open letter to Apple over their plans to not pay artists during the 90-day Apple Music trial, a move that led the company to confirm it was reversing the stance and would pay royalties for streams during that time.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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