Google music streaming to rival Spotify

The internet search giant's new subscription service will go head-to-head with online song streaming services like Spotify and Last.fm

Google has unveiled a new online music streaming service, ending months of speculation that such a development was in the pipeline.

The platform, awkwardly named Google Play Music All Access, is described as "radio without rules" and is built around music discovery.

It could be a serious rival to established services like Last.fm, Spotify, Deezer and Rdio.

In a company blog post, Hugo Barra, Google's head of Android product management, said: "You can create a radio station from any song or artist you love, browse recommendations from our expert music team or explore by genre.

"And when millions of songs just aren't enough, Google Play Music lets you combine our collection with your own collection. You can store 20,000 songs for free in the cloud and listen to them alongside the All Access catalogue."

Google Play Music All Access will be available on smartphones and tablets with Google's mobile operating system, Android, but initially only in the US.

Subscription costs $9.99 (£6.50) a month, with a free trial and discounts for people who sign up before the end of June. It's expected to arrive in the UK "soon".

Last month, Twitter launched its own music platform, which recommends artists and bands based on who users follow on the social micro-blogging network.

It also tells users what songs people they follow are currently listening to and what tracks and artists are 'trending'.

Recent figures from the BPI, which represents the UK's music industry, show 27% of the UK population now pay to download or stream music online.

Over a fifth of Britain's music buyers now choose digital albums over physical copies, and downloads account for a staggering 99.6% of UK single sales.

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