YouTube Music is heading to a smart speaker near you — if that smart speaker’s powered by Google Assistant, that is. Google this morning announced that its free, ad-supported streaming service is coming to Google Home, as well as its Pixel Buds earbuds and products from Sonos, Bose, Polk, and other third-party manufacturers.
It’s available starting today on devices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, Netherlands, and Austria, and will roll out to more countries soon.
To get started, head to the Account Settings screen in the Google Home app and tap Services and Music. Then, select YouTube Music as the default music service. If you’re setting up a new Google Home speaker, you’ll need to choose YouTube Music as the default service during setup.
“With YouTube Music and Google Home, you can ask Google Home to play the right music for any moment or mood, and YouTube Music will play the perfect station, customized to your tastes based upon your request,” YouTube Music software engineer James Goddard wrote in a blog post. “Need a groove to get you ready for a night out? Say, ‘Hey Google, play Latin vibes.’ Looking to kick off a dinner party or pick a power playlist for your home workout? We’ve got you covered.”
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There’s a restriction or two in tow, unsurprisingly. Smart speakers will stream only music that’s “closely related” to the album, song, or playlist requested, and they can’t repeat songs or skip to the next song more than six times per hour. They can, however, change radio stations, and “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” songs with voice commands.
That’s in contrast to Google’s $9.99-per-month YouTube Music Premium plan, which includes the ability to request specific albums, songs, artists, and playlists on-demand and offers unlimited skips and song replay. YouTube Music Premium additionally lets users play music in the background through the YouTube Music app while using other apps, or download songs for offline listening.
YouTube Music’s expansion would seem to be a preemptive move against Amazon’s rumored free, ad-supported music service. Last week, Billboard reported that the retailer was in talks to launch a service with a limited catalog through its voice-activated Echo speakers.
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