Google Play Music All Access Versus Spotify

When Google announced their Google Play Music All Access service, some wondered if services like Spotify would survive. For at least one customer, it won’t. I will likely take the leap once the service makes the move to iOS… if a few assumptions prove true.

Sundar Pichai told the audience at the All Things D conference that they’d likely release a version that runs on iOS. Since many Spotify users install the app on both iOS and Android devices, Google has to follow through and get their music app through the rigorous Apple iTunes App Store screening process, something they couldn’t do in the early days of some other apps. Google Voice, and more recently Google Maps, hit snags. If Google does release an iOS version, those of us who use both platforms will find Google Play Music All Access service more enticing, despite the horrible name.

Here’s a comparison of the two systems.

Google Play Music All Access


Google offers the service for about $10, but those who sign up in May or June can get it for $8. That’s $2 less than Spotify Premium costs. Spotify offers three tiers: a free version for computer only, one for $5/month that works like the free version but without ads and then the Premium tier that works on a phone or tablet and lets users download playlists for offline listening. Google Play Music All Access doesn’t have an offline function. Heavy listeners, or those with skimpy data plans, should seriously consider this before switching. But most users won’t see the lack of offline listening as a hurdle. At 5GB/month on AT&T we never approach our limit, even with moderate streaming.

To sign up for the discounted service on Google head over to After just 5 months the savings will afford listeners the equivalent of a free month.

Music Selection

Selection could stop some users from making the switch. Spotify boasts 20 million songs while Google Play Music All Access only promises 18 million plus. Who cares who has the most? It’s important that they serve up the songs a subscriber wants to hear. Not surprisingly, both featured the current Billboard top ten hits.

sonseed on google play music all access

If a service offers this obscure title, then listeners can confidently assume their favorites will show up in the library.

There’s an obscure silly song by a Christian Ska group called Sonseed that I use to see how deep the collection goes. If a service offers up the whimsical but obscure son Jesus is a Friend of Mine, then it’s likely to include the most popular as well. Both services found the song and every other song we looked for.

App Quality

spotify found Jesus is a Friend of Mine

Spotify’s Android app showing the Dave Brubeck Hits jazz playlist ready for download

The final nail in Spotify’s coffin will come in the form of the Google Play Music All Access iPhone and/or iPad app. First, it must offer both and they must function well. A measly $2/month isn’t enough to convince me, if finding music in the app feels like getting dental work. Based on the current Android app and other iPhone and iPad apps from Google, we’re hopeful that they will deliver. But we’ll wait to see before we take the jump permanently.