Google Takes Shots At Apple With Free Music Playlists

Google  ( GOOG)  ( GOOGL) is looking to cut Apple's ( AAPL) feet out from under them with playlists sharpened and made pointy by humans. 

In an attempt to minimize any advantage Apple might have with its new music streaming service, Google announced it will create a free tier for Google Play Music, its own streaming service. The announcement comes days before the planned launch of Apple Music.

The free tier will offer playlists curated by the good folks at Songza, a music curation service Google acquired last year. It is an ad-supported play aimed at attracting new users to Google's music streaming service. By offering a free tier, Google hopes more customers will shell out the $9.99 to upgrade to its premium service.

The Mountainview Calif.-based company also hopes to upend Apple Music's once exclusive promise of humans picking your music.

"Algorithms alone can't do that emotional task," Apple suggested at its WWDC conference earlier this month. "You need a human touch."

By acquiring Songza, Google is able to lend its users that human touch in selecting their next song. The curated playlists were already available to premium subscribers of Google Play Music, and now anyone is able to access them via a web browser, iPhone or Android app.

Google offers a 30-day trail of its subscription service, and the new offering makes the service more attractive by offering another way to listen for free. Apple will offer a longer, 90-day free trial of Apple Music, but offers no free tier beyond that.

Apple Music has had a bumpy road leading up to its launch thus far. Taylor Swift very publicly attacked Apple for not paying artists during the free trial -- which the company has since rectified. It also has not yet signed major indie music labels like Beggars Group and A2IM to the streaming service. The company may still see success, but it is slowly losing its advantages over its music streaming adversaries.

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