With Apple Music preparing to launch its subscription service next week and Taylor Swift criticizing its royalty payment plans, forcing that tech giant to change course, it's a busy time for the music industry. On Tuesday, Google is going in the opposite direction of Apple's $10-a-month service, launching a free, ad-supported version of its $9.99-a-month Google Play Music in the U.S. The company says it's designed to give artists another way to earn revenue and that the goal is ultimately to bring more people into its subscription service.
It's a direct challenge to Pandora, Spotify, smaller start-up Rdio and Apple's iTunes radio, its free streaming service. Google has the advantage of being able to direct people searching for songs to its service; we'll see how much it drives users to its new service as it launches this week on Android and iOS devices, though it is available on the Web as of Monday.