Oddly, Samsung and Google still haven’t made an official announcement about it. But that didn’t stop Reddit from figuring out a workaround so that anyone could access this station; I’m listening to it right now on my iPad. But most average users won’t even know this station exists. And that’s a shame: This is exactly the kind of feature Google needs to add to stay competitive with Spotify and Apple.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Play Music: It’s a lot cleaner and simpler to navigate than Apple Music, and it lets me upload my own music library to live alongside the streaming catalog, something Spotify doesn’t offer on smartphones. I’ve also come to enjoy the vast swath of stations that Google features; they often help me find new tunes. But some of Play Music’s simplicity comes from the fact that Google doesn’t update it very often and it’s lacking some key features that Spotify and Apple include — most notably any form of social integration.
Google’s slower development cycle makes sense. Spotify’s entire business rests on the success of its music service, and Apple has made music a tentpole of its strategy for almost two decades now. But Google has a number of vastly more important initiatives that take precedence over music. That’s what makes this supposed Samsung exclusive so frustrating: It’s not often that we see genuinely useful new features hit Play Music. When one shows up that’s only meant for a small number of people, it’s damn frustrating.
Sadly, that’s not likely to change any time soon. Spotify and Apple’s subscriber bases are ; it’s basically a two-horse race at this point. And Google that it would offer exclusives to Samsung going forward. I’m just hoping that exclusive features like New Release Radio aren’t kept exclusive forever, because I’m sure many of them will be notable improvements to a solid service. But if new Play Music features are kept exclusive to Samsung owners — even if only temporarily — it’s going to be hard for me to recommend or use it anymore.