Can Google Play Music All Access compete with Apple’s iRadio?


Monday is Apple’s yearly WWDC show, and with news that Sony Music has inked a deal with the company behind iTunes, one of the big reveals is expected to be a new streaming music service. Dubbed iRadio by media and fans, the platform, which has been the topic of rumor and speculation for quite some time now, will enter a market full of competition, including Pandora, Spotify, and Google’s recently unveiled Play Music All Access.

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It’s a rare instance that Google actually beat Apple to the punch with a media service. Apple broke new ground with iTunes and is largely responsible for the digital music revolution of the 2000s, turning MP3s into a profitable enterprise after the rampant piracy of the early broadband age. It was a major boon for Apple and the recording industry. You could argue that without iTunes, the iPhone might never have existed.

But Apple has been dragging its feet when it comes to streaming music, the latest craze in digital distribution, leaving the door wide open for Google to capitalize with the release of Play Music All Access. Google’s subscription model provides access to the large library of music found in the Play Store, allowing on demand playback of any song. Apple will reportedly introduce a service more like that of Pandora, an ad-supported radio stream that will tie into the iTunes store and allow users to easily purchase new tracks.

While Google got a head start and depends on a slightly different sales model, iRadio is expected to be an instant hit. Most major labels have backed the venture enthusiastically with consideration to the positive impact iTunes has had on digital music. iRadio also comes with the backing of the Apple brand and will be tied to devices and software already easily available to millions of users.

Apple has established itself as a media company as much as a software and hardware provider. Google, by comparison, is still an infant when it comes to digital sales and distribution of music. Despite a Google service that in many ways could offer more control over the listening experience by comparison, Apple — although a bit late to the party — will offer heavy competition.

For Google to make inroads, they will need to distribute Play Music on a wider scale. With plans for an iOS app, it’s a first step. Google isn’t afraid to go after Apple on their own turf with Apps like Maps, Gmail, and Hangouts. Play Music All Access vs. iRadio could be one of their biggest battles yet.


Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. Play music all access is the best thing to ever happen to my music habits. I won’t be able to get rid of it.

    1. The music thing was a nice step, I *really* think they should come up with some way to have you be able to pay a monthly fee for limited access to their e-book collection since they are so expensive, would be nice to have it for movies/TV as well. Pipe dream but it’s a nice one.

      1. Netflix for movies. But if Google can pull that off with their movies, I think that would be a big hit. I can see that working. Have it around the same price as Netflix and you’ll have an excellent streaming service. Ooo!! I like that idea.

        1. I would subscribe even if they doubled the cost of Netflix, if it actually covered all of the movies they offer. One thing most people don’t consider, or don’t know, however, is the insane complexity of rights and royalties involved in movies. The rights and royalties in music are relatively complicated… and the rights and royalties in movies are as much more complicated than music as chess is more complicated than checkers.

          1. The only reason I understand that is because the same thing applies to video games and their characters. This is why the game DON Battle Stadium never came to the US. DON is DBZ, One Piece and Naruto (Anime characters). They are all owned by different people in the US. So licenses would have been near impossible in the US. So it stayed in Japan.

  2. now this is just silly.

  3. umm…what’s the point of this article on here? it’s like he doesn’t realize that this went to here, not that other site


      1. Amen to that

  4. I decided to do the free trial of Play Music All Access the day it was released and I intend to keep it. It’s freakin’ awesome! Plus there’s just something appealing about having as many services through Google especially since I also intend on being an Android user for as long it’s in existence.

  5. Ways All-Access can beat I radio:
    1.price- at $9 per month, not bad, but all depends on iradio price. Stay competitive.
    2.customization- skins,color schemes,playlists,
    3.library-iTunes has a larger library than Google, so step it up.
    4.virtualizer-imagine being able to connect android device to TV! Or projector!also nice phone
    5.multi-device- iradio will only be on apple devices, all access can be on PS3,Wii,smart TVs,PC,tablets,mp3 players,refrigerators,etc….

      1. Thanx a lot. I just got paid version too…

  6. So far so good with All Access. I find it much easier to navigate my music and search for music versus Rhapsody PLUS it’s HALF THE COST and allows for more devices.

  7. I just wish that Google would offer their radio option, for free, with ads. Don’t get me wrong though… It’s a great service!


    1. Unless it’s an Electric Car by Mitsubishi…

      1. No…. that can die too.

    2. My name starts with “I”. =.S

    3. Ah hem. You should re-read your ALL CAPS, quote and comma-missing comment — that started with an “i” ;-)


  9. Guys, on a global scale i’m pretty sure iRadio will destroy Google All Access… First off, even the regular Google Music store isn’t available worldwide TO THIS DAY…still waiting for Google Music in Canada (which last I heard will NEVER come). It also really bugs me that as soon as I updated the music app on my Nexus 4, I got prompted to try out All Access…upon clicking the button, whoops…brought me to an invalid non-existent page, as if google never even tested the app out in other regions. So there, both of Google’s music services are not available here…

    You know what is available in Canada? iTunes…you know what most likely will be available in Canada? iRadio…

    And, I don’t even own a single iOS device…however, most people in Canada (or at least here in Montreal) own an iPhone. I personally know many people who won’t switch to Android simply because Google has no alternative for it in Canada…

    1. Same goes for Google Wallet. Vaporware as far as the international market is concerned. Be a leader, Google. Finish what you started before moving on to yet more single-market products.

      1. Lol yeah…kind of annoying that there Google makes all these awesome things, of which many are gimped or unavailable outside the US…At least Apple tries to bring parity to all it’s services world wide on a grander roll out scale.

        When I bought my Nexus 4, prior to logging into my Google Account, the Apps for Google Wallet and Google Listen were in my App Drawer. As soon as I logged in. BOOM. The apps are taken away… They really need to start focusing on other countries too…Man, it even took Canada a long time to get access to Google Books and Magazines…and we still have no Google TV Shows, just movies…BLARG

        1. It’s more likely to do with restrictions imposed by the countries that Google has to work around before rolling out their services. I seriously doubt Google is simply denying access to their products to other countries just to be a troll.

          1. As I said above, totally agree. But in the end, regarding this very article, my final answer is that Google Music can’t compete where it’s not available. For whatever reason, Apple can close the deal on music services for most of the world, Google doesn’t seem to be able to do the same…but really, how hard are they trying? Even Sony’s shitty streaming service is Available in Canada…

      2. And Apple’s mobile payment alternative IS available worldwide (or even in the US)? We haven’t seen that iRadio will be available internationally to begin with either.

        1. I don’t know…but I do know that Apple Passbook is available in some form here in Canada…Google Wallet? Zilch.

          Even Blackberry has it’s upcoming NFC payments coming to Canada.

          1. Google Wallet isn’t even available in the US for most carriers, let alone other countries.

    2. …except that these things aren’t entirely up to Google or Apple. They’re dictated by the terms of the licensing deals between the providers and the record labels. If Apple manages to launch iRadio in multiple countries out of the gate it’ll be because they gave better terms to the labels than Google was willing to give up front. Maybe Apple has the clout to haggle those terms on a new service, maybe not. I guess we’ll see next week.

      But whatever happens, you can bet that Google is trying to bring its services to as many people as possible because they don’t care where you live. If GPMAA takes off and becomes very popular, maybe that’ll give them the leverage they need to get the agreements in place for broader distribution.

      1. While I agree with all of you…The reasoning simply means nothing to me…The fact is iTunes has a monopoly for music in Canada, Google has nothing (intentional or not). So to the end user, no, I don’t see Google’s Music Services competing if they aren’t available world-wide. America? Sure, but not Canada, and that’s what really matters to me in the end as I’m sure you can understand.

        1. If Google really cared they would have brought Music to the rest of the world. I mean seriously, it CAN’T be that hard if Apple can go out and do it. I simply think they just aren’t forward thinking enough to care about Music. Other products they certain care, but not Music that’s for sure. I’m Canadian too so there’s no hope in hell of me ever seeing Music or Wallet up here……ever.

  10. Compete? Yes. Surpass? Probably not. Let’s be honest.

  11. I love All Access except for one massive problem that completely breaks it for me. It eats data like it’s going out of style. I’ve unchecked the high quality and caching options, but it still uses ~5MB of data per minute. I have the $30 T-Mobile plan with 5GB of data. I already use 2GB a month for video streaming. That leaves 3GB for music streaming which works out to just 20 minutes a day with All Access. For now I’ve downloaded some tracks, but I’m afraid to stream for fear of hitting my cap. If it doesn’t get fixed soon I’m going to back to Rdio.

    As for iRadio, I’m sure it will be iOS only which means I don’t care.

    1. Stop streaming so many porns.

      1. Oh, I forgot I was posting on a site inhabited by a bunch of 15 year old trolls. Posting a reasonable criticism of the service discussed in the article was totally my bad.

        1. True his comment was a tad immature, but it was also a joke. It’s pretty easy to just ignore the trolls, and they’ll leave you alone.

    2. Um…? That’s your problem. You “unchecked” caching. Caching is what saves your data. LoL!! What it does is cache the music. So if you’ve listened to the song before, when it comes around again it doesn’t redownload it since it’s already saved in the cache. So you might want to turn that on. LoL!!

      It doesn’t just randomly cache songs while you’re sitting there. It cache’s in order of your music while listening. When you turn this on, turn off your data and look at your music. You’ll notice some of your songs are not grayed out. These will be the songs that are cached or saved offline.

      So yea, you might want to leave that option on.

      EDIT: Also, when you 1st turn on caching, you may not notice the difference. That’s because it’s the 1st time around and it has to download the song. After listening to music you’ll notice that your data isn’t being used as often. That’s because repeated songs have been cached. So give it sometime.

      1. Caching might help if I only listened to a few songs, but I use the service for music discovery so I commonly stream new albums. The real problem is that they’re streaming at some obscene bitrate and unchecking the high quality setting doesn’t reduce data usage (or at least not enough). Many people are complaining about this issue and I think it’s something Google needs to address or they’ll see a mass exodus as people hit their data caps and realize the cause.

    3. I gotta agree, it uses way too much data. The past few days it’s almost used 5GB on me, and I only use it back and forth to work, which is at most 15minutes each way.

      1. June 3rd – 7th

  12. Seriously Kevin, take your propaganda to isource!

    1. we need to start a petition to get him off this site

      1. Is there a “report” button for Kevin??

    2. I agree. This new service doesn’t concern us Android users at all. Just more spam and propaganda from Kevin.

      1. I use iTunes at home on my iMac. And I can purchase music from iTunes. I can not purchase music from All Access, even though I can listen to all there content on my android and any computer. But what do I know.

        1. You can purchase the music from all access. Select vertical ellipses and select buy.

          1. Actually I can’t, it says that service is not available in my region. Which is probably a good thing for my wallet. I have to use iTunes or Amazone to purchase music.
            But that is fine cause it syncs with All Access. But I still use iTunes at home cause of my Android remote app for iTunes.

    3. Its clear Kevin regrets leaving Android so he writes these articles to convince himself he made the right move. Pathetic really. Kevin, enjoy your over priced music service I for one will be enjoying my Google Play All access for just 8 dollars month.

  13. When Kevin posts an article here, I skip it and go straight to the comments.

  14. Isn’t radio service free for everyone as long as you have a FM/AM receiver built-in?? So apple is charging iSheeps something we have already gotten for free? Good job to Apple and iSheeps lol~

    1. First, no phone has an AM tuner. Second, many Android phones don’t have FM tuners including the Galaxy S4 and the Nexus 4.

    2. Not sure if trolling…

      …or just unaware of what everybody else is talking about.

  15. Another ridiculous article from the most irrelevant writer on here.

  16. Google Play is far superior to iTunes in every single way. Anyone that has devices in both worlds knows this. Play wins over new Android fans immediately.

    1. I kinda like the music app on my iPod more than the Music app on my Galaxy Nexus, though the new version is a nice improvement over the previous. However as far as desktop experiences there’s no comparison Play Music wins hands down. I just wish there was a desktop app that worked similar to the phone app, download your purchases (or all access tracks) for offline play. Not often do you lose internet service at home, but it’s nice to be able to back up your music on your laptop and whatnot.

      1. As much as I like Google & Android, and dislike Apple, I have to disagree with the Play Music desktop being better than iTunes. The album artwork is poor quality and sometimes wrong, and it’s not as easily changed. Lacking some other features I’d like to see, such as changing the start/stop time on a song. But Play Music is making great progress for being years behind, and since it’s Google and not Apple it is what I try to use.

  17. Um the ruler of all streaming music is SlacKer!

  18. I had my doubts, but Google Music’s streaming has been pretty good. It generates pretty good mixes based on my collection.

    1. I’ve been using Instant Mix to see if it’s any good. I’d select an Anime-Like Japanese song and it makes a mix with other songs like that. It’s really good at making mixes with only the artist and album name. And even if the name’s aren’t correct, the mixes come out good. It’s like they know what the song is.

  19. likes most music services except iTunes, none of this is available toi Canada, witch sucks

  20. iTunes largely responsible for the digital music revolution? Sorry that would be torrents and other P2P networks, meanwhile all those people are still making millions. They do live shows for a reason, because they make millions doing tours.

    1. This is very true. Merch and live concerts make them a tonne of money.

  21. Play Music is pretty awesome. I like the idea of being able to listen to my music and other music. I have some Anime songs and video game songs on my Playlist. You won’t find Crush 40(band that sings the Sonic Adventure songs) in the PlayStore, but with All Access, I can hear these songs and still even listen to some newer songs.

    I always wanted this. This is the main reason I stopped listening to Pandora.

  22. I’ll stick to using the Xbox Music for FREE on my windows 8 computer which virtually does the same thing as “iRadio” and Play All-Access.

  23. I think kevin is here to bring more readers to phandroid. More angry readers.

  24. Duh! Yes, it can. First of all, I am sure that Apple’s product will only run on Apple devices and probably Windows. This means that the number one mobile operating system will not be serviced by iRadio. Therefore, how can it be competition when it doesn’t compete on Android? The only competitive space will be iOS which I could care less about. This is probably true for most people who follow Phandroid.

  25. Kevin. Just because there’s no traffic on the apple sister site.. It doesn’t mean annoy us with your apple articles.. Idk why they’re even letting you do it


  27. tip go post this on ur ios site

  28. Neither iradio or play music will be hugely successful. Spotify and Pandora are on just about every electronic device made. Google and Apple will never be on a fraction of those devices.

  29. Kevin, please read the comments. Stop posting here. Just stop. You left. You have an iPhone. Stay there.

    P.S. iRadio isn’t even real yet (may never be). All Access sure is.

  30. “Waaahh, my favorite billion-dollar, multi-national corporation is better than your favorite billion dollar, multi-national corporation! Stop barraging me with your onslaught of demonstrably true facts!”

    This is a perfectly relevant topic for this site and many are acting like a butthurt, soccer-hooligan defending their favorite team, even in the face of what we all know are totally justifiable assertions.

    Apple will almost certainly unveil a good product with iRadio. You F’ing know it.

    Kevin, keep doing what you’re doing. Oh, and shove your iPhone up your a$$… sideways. ;)

  31. If Google manages to make All Access available in as many countries as possible then I think it will become a hit as it is an amazing service with a really competitive price. I really hope they do because you can bet that Apple will make iRadio widely available.

  32. Kevin… you are tainted and your time at Phandroid is done. Take your always-gross-extra-long-fingernails, your hipster glasses and your monotone voice over to iSource and get off of here. You were always my least favorite contributor and are now a pain in all of our Phandroidian asses. Rob Jackson and Chris Chavez FTW.

  33. please rephrase the title as
    can iradio compete with google play all access

  34. The most relevant thing about the “competition” between the two is how easily it will be for me to get that music to my stereo. It is only in this area that Apple maintains an advantage due to a lot of confusion and crappy Bluetooth implementations in stereo systems out there. Airplay is an absolute asset for the Apple crowd and there still remains no compelling or well deployed option for Android.

    1. What do you mean? I buy music from amazon, upload it to google play music, that syncs it to iTunes on my iMac so I can play it through my stereo at home through airplay using my android itunes remote app. Sheeshhh.

  35. There’s no competition. iRadio isn’t even in the same league.

  36. Apple’s honestly doesn’t even sound appealing to me. I HATE Pandora.

  37. Google must start using it’s amazing footprint world wide to negotiate contracts with labels. Apple no longer is the only one with a footprint like they had with ipods. Start getting the business guys involved with negotiations.

  38. Kevin, you have got to stop writing articles as if we all switched over to iphones. To stop trolling you need to consider your audience and their perspective. If you’re getting paid to try and convert us to iPhone you need to stop. The fact that Phandroid lets you continue to do this almost makes one think Phandroid has sold out.

  39. Now that they’ve announced iTunes Radio I think it’s not even close to the same thing as All Access. AA lets you listen to most any album on the Play Store, thus the name all access. It also allows you to make a radio station based off of whatever you want. iTunes Radio is just the radio part, no all access.

  40. Wow, iRadio is so original and revolutionary. (Inserts sarcasm)

  41. If there’s any problem for Play Music All Access is that it’s a great service but the name is terrible and no one has heard of it outside forums like this. A lot of people will use iRadio.

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