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Google Music All Access comes to UK

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Google Music All Access, the company's Spotify-rivalling music streaming service, has finally arrived here in the UK and in Europe.

The service was unveiled in the US back in May at the Google I/O event, but it was only available in its native country to start with. Three months on and Google Music All Access is now available in the UK, as well as eight European countries ( Austria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain), Australia and New Zealand.

As well as streaming music through a desktop browser, All Access is now available through the Google Music app on Android. As for iOS users, they'll have to wait for a Google Music app to appear on the App Store.

Google Music All Access allows you to choose from millions of songs available to purchase outright through the standard Google Music service, and to stream them to your browser or Android device unlimited times for a fixed monthly fee.

You can also cache songs to your Android phone for offline listening, or to help preserve your monthly data allowance.

Add to that the pre-existing ability to upload up to 20,000 of your own music tracks to the cloud for storage and streaming and you have one of the more compelling music service available in the UK - especially when you factor in the price.

You can now sign up for a free 30 day trial of the All Access service, and if you commit to it before September 15 you'll get it for just £7.99 (or €7.99) per month, rather than the usual £9.99 / €9.99.

Now read why Apple should fear the new Google.

organoise

August 8, 2013, 9:27 am

On first look out-the-box, just browsing and without having
to signup to any trials or uploading stuff to cloud or anything mind, it's not
at spotify level yet and here's three reasons why:

The catalogue is not as comprehensive.

The search only returns cover images (?) not alphabetically sortable results -
bit like flicking through the 'various' section in a record shop hoping someday
you'll come across a cool cover.

Last but not least... you can't stream full length songs free - only a minute or
so.

Nope, gimme a proper full-on free streaming 'radio' service in my hands first,
where I can set-up playlists, find and discover different versions of songs/artists
at the flick of a list and let the music play 'on the house' til the break of
day, then we'll talk about paying for fluffy cloud and stuff... maybe.

RBH

August 8, 2013, 9:52 am

I've had it for about 2 weeks now, previously was a Spotify user. Mind you my decision was swayed because I basically get if for free through a peculiarity of my mobile service (not in UK). I like being able to purchase music and stream through the one service. I've found the radio on Google to be excellent where I was never that impressed by Spotify's equivalent. I'm not bagging Spotify, it was good in many ways but it fell over in 3 key areas for me. Classical music was weak, they never fixed an error with slow sync speeds for the ipod and the other was music purchases. Hopefully they can lift their game so we don't have total Google domination.

cthuiu

August 9, 2013, 1:27 pm

I'm not sure that comparing this service to Spotify is necessarily healthy but it's an easy way to go and I'm not going to shy away from it.

Pricing plans

Spotify has 3 levels of payment:

1 - Free - play over client or web and advert-funded
2 - £4.99pm - play over client or web with no adverts

3 - £9.99pm - play over client, web and mobile device without adverts

Google Play Music has 2:

1 - Free - upload 20000 of your own songs and play over the web or on your Android device without adverts.
2 - All Access £7.99pm (rising to £9.99pm if you register after 15th Sept 2013) - upload 20000 of your own songs and play via browser or Android device without adverts

So what's the point?

Google already has a massive catalogue but has similar restrictions to other streaming services. You are currently unable to stream The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC (amongst others) on either service and whilst Spotify has just picked up Pink Floyd, All Access has not. Does this matter? Well, yes and no.

Let's say you are a Pink Floyd fan and you want to listen to Pink Floyd while you wend your merry way, clearly you would choose Spotify because of their recent deal right? Well maybe but if you are a fan already the chances are you already own most of their catalogue... Rip it and upload it to Google Play Music and now you can stream it. Not only can you stream it in fact, you can create playlists which mix in your uploaded files with files you stream, you can start a radio based on your own music collection which throws in streamed tracks and you can download these mixed up playlists for playing offline.

In short Google All Access is much more versatile than Spotify. It actually has more in common with the iTunes Match service but with the bonus of a Spotify style streaming system added on - interestingly though, take away the All Access portion and you are left with an almost identical service to iTunes Match and it's free!

I have seen several posts where people have bemoaned the fact that there are none of the bells-and-whistles apps that Spotify sports but I think it's important to remember two things here. Firstly, it's early days for All Access and Google don't tend to leave things alone - expect a raft of integrated services (not third party apps) as time goes by. Secondly, Spotify only offers these apps through it's native client - they are not available through the web player or smartphone apps and as these services are aimed predominantly at the mobile market, there is no real edge.

Will I be moving to Google All Access exclusively? Not fully, not yet. I have signed up immediately because I know that, as a heavy Chrome and Android user, it will be the best service for me but I will probably stay on a free or advert-free version of Spotify for the time being - that's not shocking to me, I also use Deezer, Rdio and Grooveshark to fit my needs as required.When push comes to shove you need to utilise the service that is best for you and, as a Google user (not fanboi) I envisage this as the music service that will best meet my needs.

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