05/15/2013 02:26 pm ET Updated May 15, 2013

Google Play Music All Access: Search Giant Launches Spotify Competitor

The music streaming wars have officially begun.

Google on Wednesday announced Google Play Music All Access, a streaming music service for smartphones, tablets and desktops. All Access, which launches in the U.S. on Wednesday, allows users to stream "millions" of songs, create personalized radio stations and discover music based on their music preferences, according to the company.

"This is radio without rules," Chris Yerga, Android's engineering director, said when he introduced the service at Google's annual I/O conference in San Francisco. "It's as lean back as you want to as or as interactive as you want it to be."

The service, which will be available for $9.99 per month after a monthlong free trial, competes directly with Spotify, the 5-year-old streaming music service that launched in the U.S. in 2011, as well as Pandora, the Internet radio giant.

Unlike All Access, which has a monthly fee, Spotify uses a "freemium" model; users can listen, with ads, for free on their desktop computers, pay $4.99 to listen ad-free, or pay $9.99 to stream and download unlimited music on multiple devices.

Pandora, which has 200 million registered users, also offers its ad-supported radio service for free. Users can upgrade to Pandora One for $36 annually to get higher-quality and ad-free music.

Spotify, which is now available in 28 countries, has more than 24 million active users. Six million of those, according to the company, are paying subscribers.

Spotify touts its large catalog -- the service says users have access to 20 million songs with 20,000 more added each day -- as one of its greatest assets. A spokesperson from Google did not elaborate on Yerga's assertion that All Access's music library has "millions" of songs, and Google did not specify which music labels have made their content available on All Access.

Spotify, which has been aggressively courting new subscribers ahead of Google's announcement, has deals with EMI, Sony Music, Universal and Warner Music, among others.



Google I/O 2013