Amazon and Google go free with new music streaming services

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Amazon and Google have both revealed free music streaming services for owners of their smart speakers.

The two tech giants hope the free, ad-supported services will help them take on Spotify and Apple Music.

For users, it’s another way to stream music for free – if you’re willing to put up with ads in between songs. Beginning today, U.S. customers who don’t have a Prime membership or a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited can use the Amazon service.

You’ll be able to play a station based on a song, artist, era, and genre. Amazon is also making some of its most popular playlists available, including Country Heat, Fuego Latino, and more, and hopes the service will drive customers to its other, paid for, services.

Prime members get access to more than two million songs, and playlists and radio stations as part of their annual subscription.

If that’s not enough, there’s also Amazon Music Unlimited, the paid service that offers unlimited access to more than 50 million songs.

Google also today brought its free, ad-supported music streaming service — YouTube Music — to Google Home smart speakers, as well as its Pixel Buds earbuds and products from Sonos, Bose, Polk, and other third-party manufacturers.

“Starting today, YouTube Music is offering a free, ad-supported experience on Google Home speakers (or other Google Assistant-powered speakers)” Google’s James Goddard said. 

How to listen to Amazon’s free music streaming service

To listen, simply say:

  • “Alexa, play the playlist Pop Culture” to hear the ultimate global playlist for today’s pop music.
  • “Alexa, play the Imagine Dragons station” to hear a station inspired by the popular rock band.
  • “Alexa, play 80s music” to hear a station filled with music from the era.
  • “Alexa, play country music” to hear a station with some of the best in the genre.

How to listen to Google’s free music streaming service

Before listening, you’ll have to set up YouTube Music on your speaker – but it’s really simple to do.

  • Navigate to Account Settings in the Google Home app, tap Services and select Music.
  • Select YouTube Music as the default music service.
  • If you are setting up a new Google Home speaker, choose YouTube Music as the default music service during the setup process.