Both Amazon and Google yesterday rolled out free music tiers as part of their respective streaming music services. In both cases, you are required to have either an Amazon Echo or Google Home device to take advantage of the free music. They are also both ad-supported so you will get adverts randomly between songs. It is the latest effort by both companies to gain new customers while also keep pressure on Apple and Spotify.
In the case of Amazon, you will be able to stream music to your Echo device via Amazon Music, the company’s music streaming service. For Google, you will have to have a Google Home to stream ad-supported music from YouTube music. For Google, you are not able to request a specific song but rather a genre of music, a specific song, or a specific artist. You are also limited on the number of skips of songs you can perform and you can expect an average of six advertisements an hour from the service. It is a similar story for Amazon. You are not able to request specifics nor create playlists but can listen to specific genres.
While these limitations are stout, both Amazon and Google are hoping that users will either stop paying for the likes of Apple Music or Spotify and switch over to them. It is a long shot for that to happen on long time customers of those services but for some who are casual music listeners, these free tiers are a gateway to the full paid service later.
Streaming Music, much like Streaming Television, continues to be a hotbed of competition with Apple and Spotify dominating the market. That isn’t stopping smaller players like Amazon and Google from trying to take a larger slice of the pie and their hope is these free offerings will do the trick.