At the start of this review, I was simultaneously excited and frustrated. Now I'm just plain excited. For a bit of context, I have been bouncing between cloud music services since Lala was still a thing. I had one simple desire: I wanted to pay a monthly fee for unfettered access to a large library of content, but still wanted to be able to bring my own. I know that $10/month is not going to get me every song in existence, but if I can pay for most music, and then supply the rest, I'll be happy.
Today, Google brought it's A-game with a subscription service for Play Music. Now, you can pay a $9.99 monthly fee to get unlimited access to a library of music. It also comes with a new, updated Play Music app that doesn't look like complete garbage. There's also a host of features including the ability to turn any track into a radio station.
The one key way that this service distinguishes itself from other subscription services is that this includes all of your own personal music.
On the eve of I/O, Google managed to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment to bring a music subscription service to both YouTube and Google Play, according to a report by The Verge that is now being corroborated by The Wall Street Journal. If everything goes smoothly, a preview or launch of the new service tomorrow isn't out of the question. The Journal similarly says the streaming solution could launch "as soon as this week." That would give Google a substantial leg up over Apple, which is still in the process of negotiating contracts for its own music streaming solution.
Guys, stop talking about the Ouya for a second. Bluestacks has a different console it would like you to pay attention to: GamePop. The company that has previously worked on interoperability between Android software and other platforms, is now launching a console of its own. The hardware—including a console and physical controller—will be entirely free for people who pre-order. The catch? You have to pay for a subscription to play games.
Spotify's bringing it down to the flo'. Nah, not really, but kind of. The crew behind the venerable music service has released an app update on Google Play, and among bug fixes and a playlist-sorting enhancement, a unique feature is listed in the changelog: "This app looks great in trousers."
The most significant change is playlist and track sorting. The app also now remembers what you were listening to when you last logged out.
As we get closer and closer to Google I/O, speculation inevitably ramps up about what Mountain View will be unveiling this year to set the Android world on fire. The most likely plans involve boosting Play Store features and availability, given the recent push not only to expand into new countries, but to frame the Nexus line as a great content consumption platform. If Fortune is right, then Google may have a huge axe to swing in that battle with not one, but two different subscription music services coming soon.
There are a lot of Android users that don't much care for buying paid apps. This is doubly true since the old 24-hour return windows was replaced with a comparatively small 15-minute one. A company called Mobiroo seems to think it has the solution: subscribe to an all-you-can-download service for paid apps. It's a little bit like Netflix for apps, and it only costs $2.49 per-month. Of course, that's only a good deal if the service offers apps you actually want.
As if there weren't enough contenders out there for music subscription service, Slacker Radio has updated its business model. You can still get the standard ad-supported radio station features that were always available. However the company has added a Spotify-like buffet option for $10/month. Pony up the dough and you can remove all ads and listen to as many tracks as you want.
The combination is pretty powerful, as one of the biggest complaints over Spotify is its discovery problems.
MoviePass sounds like a pretty fantastic service for movie buffs. Pay a set fee every month, and you can go to the theater as much as you would like (with a fairly lengthy list of caveats). It's Netflix, but for all the movies that are out now. While it wouldn't be of much interest to the casual viewer who might only see one or two flicks a year, the avid viewer could save tons of money.
Two weeks ago, we took a look at the invite-only beta of Redbox Instant. In that article, we gave a brief glimpse into what the fledgling service's library had to offer. Of course, the inevitable question had to be asked: how does it stack up against Netflix? Or Amazon Instant Video for that matter? While we're at it, how does Google's Play Store compare? Those are pretty big questions! So, they deserve pretty big answers.