May 242013

Google Play Music All Access vs Spotify Premium

Last week at Google I/O they announced a new subscription music service to add onto their existing Google Play music store.  The new service, called Google Play Music All Access, lets you stream all the music available in their library to your browser or Android device.  Now my hope before this service was introduced was that we would be seeing a Spotify killer.  Unfortunately, it’s not quite as much of a killer service as I would have hoped for.

I have created the below chart to try and compare the two and highlight each one’s advantages over the other.  One thing I did not touch on was the availability of certain music within both services.  From my initial searches there was not a huge difference between the two and it really all comes down to what specific music you are looking for.

All Access

Spotify Premium


$7.99 before 6/30/2013


Free Version


Yes (Ads)

Android App



iOS App



Desktop App



Browser App


Yes (Beta)

Other Devices



Offline Play

Android Only


Radio Features

Music Discovery




In comparison it really is quite close.  Since both services will be the same price after the early access period there is no difference there.  However, Spotify does offer a free, but limited, version of it’s service supplemented by advertisements.  I do not include the free version of Google Music because it only allows you access to music you own.  A free version is important when you want to share music with someone who doesn’t have a subscription.  With Spotify they’d be able to listen to the entire song, but with All Access they’d only hear a snippet.

The next big diference is the number of devices that each service is available on.  Spotify is available on a very wide and varied number of devices.  Google Play Music All Access is only available on Android devices and then from within your browser.  This is something that is very limiting, especially for me, because of the lack of a desktop version.  The browser version of the All Access player doesn’t work for me very well simply because of the lack of keyboard controls.  I heavily use my keyboard’s play/pause button when I’m listening to music.  Not having use of those keyboard keys to control my music is a  big inconvenience that leads me to not use the service when at my PC.

Now there are places that All Access excels over Spotify Premium.  The Radio player in All Access is far more advanced and flexible than Spotify’s radio player.  It allows you to go through the list of upcoming music and reorder and remove whatever songs you like.  This functionality along with music discovery are the only things that really blow Spotify Premium out of the water.

However, in terms of Social Sharing and Navigation between Albums the advantage goes to Spotify.  While you can share music in All Access it is limited and requires All Access subscription to listen to the music otherwise you just get a sample.  There is also no automatic sharing, with Spotify you can see what your friends are listening to without them needing to do any actual sharing.  Finally, i’ve had a much easier time navigating and finding songs through Spotify than with Google Play Music All Access.  I had a great deal of trouble in All Access finding a single song that was the explicit version and not the clean version.  With spotify if you find one of the songs it’s a simple drop down to switch between it and the other versions of it.

So in conclusion if you strike now you’ll lock yourself into a great rate for Google’s new subscription music service.  However, Spotify Premium still is very much the more mature system, but if you are in the market for a subscription music service and are looking for a deal then now is the time to strike.  Google Music’s price will go up in a little over a month so if you want to save yourself $2/mo for the life of your subscription then now is the time to subscribe.

  2 Responses to “Google Music All Access vs Spotify Premium”

  1. Hi Mike,
    I’d read on a dif forum about an issue you were having with the google play app on your Moto Photon. The thread has flat lined and I was wondering if you ever had any success or if you moved on to a dif service or phone? I am having the same issue and am debating the same. Thank you.


    • I ended up upgrading my phone. That phone I had was reaching it’s end of life unfortunately and even now when I just try and play around with it I run into all sorts of issues. Never was able to try it again to see if it ever got resolved.

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