Amazon and Google have today introduced ad-supported music streaming services.
The two companies had previously only offered paid-for subscriptions as part of their Amazon Music and YouTube Music streaming services, but have today decided that it is time to go head to head with Spotify and introduce a free ad-supported music tier.
Amazon takes the lead
Amazon was the first to introduce a free music option for users listening on Amazon Alexa devices, which now sits alongside Amazon Prime, which offers two million songs, and Amazon Music Unlimited, a separate on-demand music streaming service priced at $9.99 per month.
Amazon users can ask Alexa to play a song, and she’ll do so, although you may need to skip through songs or listen to adverts before your desired content is available to listen to.
Google fights back
In retaliation, Google announced it would be doing the same – offering ad-supported music on its Google Home products just hours later.
Owners of a Google Home device, or a device powered by Google Assistant, can now listen to music from YouTube Music.
“Listening to music on your Google Home speaker right out-of-the-box seems too good to be true, right? It’s not! Starting today, YouTube Music is offering a free, ad-supported experience on Google Home speakers (or other Google Assistant-powered speakers).”
It’s important to note that neither company are offering their ad-free music streaming on desktops or smartphones – only on selected smart home speakers and devices, which is an interesting move and adds more convenience to the products.
Spotify, on the other hand, offers ad-powered music streaming on all compatible devices and is today the only major streaming service with a totally free tier.
Will Apple Music go freemium?
Apple has been keen to avoid an ad-supported service, although the company does offer users a three-month free trial, a $4.99 student subscription package, and partners with a number of companies and carriers in the US to bundle Apple Music as part of a wider plan.
As the streaming race heats up and Apple looks for new ways to capture revenue, perhaps the company will reconsider its stance on the matter and offer an ad-supported version of Apple Music to appease price-conscious consumers and youngsters who use Spotify?
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