With little fanfare, Google Play Music – Google’s answer to Apple Music – was launched in South Africa yesterday. Google Play Music lets you access a large catalogue of music through the Play Store, where you can purchase individual songs or albums.
Google’s prices stack up well against Apple Music: Adele’s new album 25 costs R109,89 on Apple Music, and only R39,99 on Google Play Music; and Justin Bieber’s Purpose Deluxe is costs R20 less on Google Play Music.
But the music service isn’t free. Although it does kick off with a 60-day free trial, Google Play Music will cost R49,99 thereafter. The service promises an ad-free interface with personalised recommendations and “unlimited skips and choice of songs, albums, and playlists”. Google Play Music will allow you to download music and listen offline. All music purchased will be available to download to your device or computer or added to Google Play Music.
Although we can’t tell how long the introductory subscription offer will last, it is possible that the price will change as the current subscription fee in the USA is $9,99 (or R146,02 – depending on the exchange rate). The Google Play Music subscription is slightly cheaper than the Apple Music equivalent. Then again, Apple Music offers a 6-way Family membership of only R90 a month.
At the moment Google Play Movies & TV is the only one of the Play services not available in South Africa, although it is available in Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Google has not revealed any plans to launch it here.