What just happened? Amazon and Google recently put their streaming video differences aside, agreeing to bring their respective services to each other's devices. Shortly after, both companies announced free streaming music tiers for their respective services and platforms. Coincidence?

Alexa users in the US can now listen to Amazon Music free of charge on their Alexa-enabled device thanks to a new ad-supported version of the streaming music service. It’s not the unfettered access you’d gain with a subscription to Amazon Music Unlimited but rather, a Pandora-like offering that routes you to specific stations and playlists based on your query.

For example, you could say, “Alexa, play 90s music” to hear a station filled with tunes from that era or say, “Alexa, play the playlist Pop Culture” to listen to tracks from today’s top pop artists.

Those looking for truly on-demand music without ads can get just that with a Prime membership as it includes access to more than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations. Optionally, Amazon Music Unlimited – Amazon’s premium subscription service – grants access to a library of more than 50 million tracks.

In related news, Google has announced that YouTube Music is now offering a free, ad-supported tier on the Google Home and other Google Assistant-powered speakers. Like Amazon’s new free tier, the complementary version of YouTube Music doesn’t let you play specific artists, songs or albums. Instead, you’re directed to a station with a similar genre to what you’re searching for.

The free version of YouTube Music is now available to listeners in the US, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands and Austria. Additional countries will be added soon, we’re told.

Lead image courtesy Antonio Guillem via Shutterstock