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GOOGLE PLAY UNVEILS FREE TIER

Google, bucking the recent trend in an effort to become competitive in an increasingly crowded field, has introduced a free tier for its Google Play subscription streaming service.

Billing the new offering as free, ad-supported radio, a Tuesday blog post broke out the first 10 stations, each geared to a particular activity, from Working Out to Bedtime. These stations, the copy explains, are being “curated” by Google Play’s “team of music experts, including the folks who created Songza.”

Users will get a limited number of tracks free as a way to lure them into springing for the $9.99/month subscription, VP of Partnerships Zahavah Levine told New York Times reporter Ben Sisario. “There needs to be a differentiation,” Levine said. “We hope that by giving users a taste of the service, they’ll love it so much that they’ll upgrade over time.”

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