If you’re a Google Home user, you might have greeted the news that Amazon has added a free version of its Amazon Music service to all Alexa devices, with a bit of envy. But fear not: While most of the coverage ended up being about Amazon, Google has been working on its own free version of YouTube Music for Google Home devices as well, and announced it the very same day.
The free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music is available on Google Assistant-powered smart speakers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, and Austria. Google says more countries are coming soon.
Needless to say, just like Amazon’s free music ploy, the goal is to get people excited enough about the ability to summon their favorite artists and tracks with just their voice, that they’ll be willing to pony up the $10 per month fee for YouTube Music Premium, the ad-free version of the service with additional features like being able to download tracks for offline listening.
The free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music will respond to requests like “Hey Google, play Uptown Funk,” but instead of getting the song itself (which the premium version will deliver), you’ll get a station of songs inspired by the requested song. The free version won’t let you skip tracks, play a previous song, access your YouTube Music playlists directly, or download music. Still, these restrictions aside, having access to YouTube Music’s full catalog via Google Home, for free, is a great way to get your feet wet with a subscription music streaming service, and a great opportunity to compare YouTube Music to Spotify, without signing up for either service.
Of course, what we’d really like to see is Amazon and Google continue to improve their relationship, and follow up their recent agreement to play nicely with YouTube on Amazon devices, and Prime Video on Chromecast, with the addition of ad-supported YouTube Music on Alexa devices, and ad-supported Amazon Music on Google Home devices. As the smart speaker war continues, customers shouldn’t have to worry about which music services go with which devices.
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