by James A. Martin

Google ‘Play Music All Access’ is a Worthy Spotify, Pandora Competitor

May 29, 20132 mins

Google is trying to muscle its way into the music-subscription space with the brand new Google Play Music All Access. There's a lot to like about Google's offering, according to blogger James A. Martin, but not enough to make him drop his beloved Pandora. Here's why.

Google’s new Play Music All Access subscription-based music service is a serious competitor to Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody and other popular streaming-music options. But it’s not serious enough, at least not enough for me to forsake my beloved Pandora.

The service lets you stream music on the Web and via its Android app. Google says the lengthy-titled Google Play Music All Access features 18 million songs, which is on par with some of its competitors. Right now, it’s competitively priced at $8 a month, but that offer ends June 30th. (Spotify costs $10 per month.) You can try Google’s service for free for 30 days.


Here’s a list of things I like about Google Play Music All Access:

  • You can save songs to your device for offline listening;
  • You can create and save playlists;
  • The service/app includes curated playlists, which are helpful for discovering new music;
  • You can build “radio stations,” a la Pandora, based on a favorite song, artist, and so on;
  • You can get past a song’s boring intro by dragging a circle icon, which shows where you are in the track, to move the song forward or backward.

Will Google Play Music All Access eventually become my new Pandora? No, probably not.

For one thing, Pandora shows song lyrics as a tune plays, and Google’s service doesn’t. That’s a feature I really appreciate.

More importantly, Google’s service didn’t work very well on my Samsung Galaxy Note smartphone. Every track I played stuttered at least a few times. In comparison, tracks played on Pandora on the same device and in the exact same spot in my house, had no such performance problem. A few times, after selecting a song to play on Google, I received a message that said the music was “temporarily unavailable.” Also, there’s no Google Play Music All Access iOS app. (The gMusic iOS app is reportedly a good workaround.)

I’m sure Google will work out the kinks. And there’s a lot to like about Google Play Music All Access. But if you’re already wedded to Spotify, Pandora, Rhapsody or another service, Google’s offering probably won’t make you want to switch. Not yet, at least.

(Screen shot by Google.)