Now that Twitter Music has slowly slipped away from the collective consciousness, Google is introducing its own radio and music discovery program. It’s call All Access and it costs $9.99 per month. At first glimpse it seems revolutionary and comprehensive.
Google’s radio allows you to do what most other radio services don’t – easily change the order of songs, easily remove songs, and add songs to personal libraries. There’s a lot of customization built in, but the most important key to digital radio isn’t necessarily the usability of the service, but the quality of the music itself. All Access is launching today so I did a quick search for my favorite new album, Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City and it wasn’t available. Sure, I have it in my personal library, but what’s the use of paying for a music service that doesn’t have the music I want to pay for?
When Spotify first launched, I tried playing Joanna Newsome but none of her albums were available and I haven’t been back since. Music licensing is extremely problematic. I assume that each radio program is negotiating pricing on behalf of its customers, but with radio so splintered (Rdio, Pandora, Last.fm, Twitter, Amazon) it’s hard to get each listener the artists s/he want.
The right pricing model allows each listener to pay artists they choose, and I’m not sure Google Play All Access has my favorite artists and albums. When Chris Yerga said All Access was radio without rules, perhaps he’s forgetting that music services inflict their own rules on a free and clear system of purchasing music. For now, it looks like I have to find and pay for my music elsewhere and use the cloud to access them on the device of my choice.
On a more important note, if Google can offer a great monetization model for artists I’ll be the first in line. What do you think? Is $9.99/month too much? You can try the service for free for 30 days. Users who sign up by June 30 will have the opportunity to pay only $7.99 per month.