Apple Music may be working hard to dethrone streaming music market leader Spotify, but it also can't afford to ignore the other horses in the race. Google Play Music has today launched a major revamp of its iOS and Android apps, using machine-learning to put together context-specific playlists and ensuring that you always have music to listen to even if you forget to download offline music.
Referral reading: Apple Music to MP3 Converter
The move happens on the same day that Amazon Music Unlimited began its international expansion.
Amazon Music Unlimited launched in the U.S. last month, complete with discounts for Prime subscribers, and has today announced that it is rolling out the service to the UK, Germany and Austria (via TechCrunch). The service is already live in the UK, with Germany and Austria following later today.
But is is Google Play Music's new-found intelligence that may pose the bigger threat. While Apple Music aims to learn your tastes and present a mix of human-curated and algorithym-based playlists, Google is upping the ante with recommendations based on where you are and what you are doing.
If Google can see you're at the airport, for example, it will recommend music designed to de-stress you, even factoring in that day's weather. As 9to5Google explains:
Specifically, Google Play Music uses machine learning to figure out what songs you like and then factors in signals — location, activity, and weather — with hand-picked playlists to deliver personalized recommendations wherever you are and whenever you want.
With a big focus on context, opting in to the new features will deliver "personalized music based on where you are and why you are listening." The latter includes everything from "relaxing at home, powering through at work, commuting, flying, exploring new cities, heading out on the town, and everything in between."
The app also now automatically downloads both recent tracks and recommended music to your phone so that you always have offline music to listen to even if you forget to download it manually.
The new features have already rolled out to the iOS app available on iTunes.
Back in September, Spotify announced that it had 40M paid subscribers (with a further 60M ad-supported free ones), while Apple hit 17M earlier the same month. Neither Google Play Music nor Amazon Music Unlimited have yet announced their subscriber numbers.
It was reported last month that Apple Music was considering a price-cut for existing subscribers, on either a temporary or permanent basis, but as subscription rates are set in agreement with labels, it's unclear how this could be achieved.
Spotify has not been having the happiest of times of late, with reports of malware ads in the free version and out-of-control data writes that could reduce the life of SSDs.