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Google Home adds support for YouTube Music’s free ad-supported tier

Although you can’t request specific songs

Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Google Home smart speakers can now play music from YouTube Music’s free ad-supported tier. Previously, in order to listen to YouTube music on your Google Assistant smart speaker you’d have to subscribe to Google’s paid YouTube Music Premium service for $9.99 a month. The new service is available now on the Google Home speaker and other Google Assistant smart speakers in 16 countries including the US, UK, and Australia.

Unfortunately, the free tier doesn’t let you request specific songs from the smart speaker. Instead it’s meant for playlists like “Latin Vibes.” When we asked Google to specifically play Creep by Radiohead, our smart speaker played what it thought was a related Nirvana song rather than the Radiohead track we’d requested... after playing an ad for YouTube Music Premium first, of course.

You can set the default streaming music service your smart speaker uses by heading into the “Music” section under the “Settings” menu of the Google Home app. From there you’ll be able to select YouTube Music as your default music service.

Neither of YouTube Music’s tiers are currently supported on smart speakers featuring Amazon’s competing Alexa voice assistant.

Playing music out of a smart speaker eliminates one of the biggest frustrations of using YouTube Music’s free tier, which is that its app doesn’t support playing music in the background. Unless you pay for its premium tier, you have to leave you phone’s screen on and the YouTube Music app open to keep your music playing. With no screen or multi-tasking, the smart speaker suffers no such issues.