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Google adds free music streaming to battle Spotify and Apple

Amid an ongoing debate over the merits and morality of free music streaming services, Google has decided to enter the fray with a no-fee platform of its own.

The Mountain View-based company has launched an ad-supported version of its Play Music streaming service in the U.S. to go up against Spotify’s free tier.

The free mode, which arrives under the tag line “free music for everything you do,” is essentially offering access to a host of radio stations curated by the mood and situation-based playlist company Songza, which Google purchased last year.

Those willing to tolerate ads will also be able to start their own playlists based on songs, artists and genres, but won’t be able to pick and choose which tracks they want to hear.

Rather, the limited functionality is being touted as a taster to get users to sign up for the subscription tier which offers offline access, playlist creation and unfettered access to a library of 30 million tracks. Play Music Subscribers also get early access to YouTube Music Key for their monthly contributions.

The free tier, which Google claims is “giving artists another way to earn revenue,” arrives as rival music streaming companies set out their stalls ahead of the launch of Apple Music on June 30.

Alongside Jay-Z’s Tidal streaming service, Apple has rebelled against free, ad-supported streaming services, but is offering a three-month free trial before anyone has to commit any cash.

The firm had become embroiled in a row over its intentions to pay no royalties to rights owners during the trial period. However, Taylor Swift’s protests on behalf of smaller artists saw Cupertino make a rare climbdown on the issue.

Related: Apple Music vs Spotify

Google Play Music will be available on the web in the U.S. from today and will hit the iOS and Android apps this week.

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