Google Nest smart speakers have a great many uses, whether they are used to control smart home kit or for answering questions on the kids' homework. The one activity most users will enjoy, however, is playing their favourite music on-demand.

If you pay a monthly subscription for YouTube Music, Deezer or Spotify then achieving this is easy. Having connected the service in the Google Home app you simply say, "Okay Google, play [whatever song you like]." Provided that song is in the service's database playback will begin.

You may be offered a free trial of YouTube Music at purchase, and we'd certainly recommend trying this to see how it compares, but once the trial ends you don't have to put your hand in your pocket to keep listening to your favourite songs. 

Should you choose not to subscribe to any of these services, below we outline some alternatives that will let you enjoy any music on-demand on Google Nest, all for free.

1. Get ad-supported music with the free version of YouTube Music

Though there are paid plans for YouTube Music (which you will automatically have access to if you previously signed up to Google Music, which is itself now being phased out), there is also a free version that has all the same functionality but is paid for not with cash but by you agreeing to listen to the odd advert. It's kind of like radio, really, except you get to choose the playlist.

To select YouTube Music as your preferred playback service, launch the Google Home app, tap the Settings icon, then scroll down to Google Assistant Services and choose Music. From the list select YouTube Music.

select music service Google Home

2. Connect Spotify Free

It's not only the Premium version of Spotify that is supported by Google Nest, but also the free option. This is more limited in its features, but Spotify Free does allow you to listen to music in shuffle mode and skip tracks up to six times an hour, and you can access playlists and discover new music. As with the free version of YouTube Music it's supported by adverts. 

You'll need to sign up for a Spotify account before you can begin using this, so look for the app in the Google Play Store or iOS' App Store. Once registered, launch the Google Home app and tap Settings, scroll down to Services, then choose Music and select Spotify.

3. Listen to internet radio

Google Nest lets you stream music from online radio services such as the BBC and Capital FM. Though you can’t control what you hear, you can listen to current popular music without paying for it. Just say “Okay Google, play [radio station name].”

4. Cast audio from your phone or tablet

This isn't quite as straightforward as asking Google Assistant to begin playing whatever song you fancy, but it is quite possible to cast music from a nearby phone or tablet. This is possible either through the Cast option that is found in some device's drop-down navigation bar, or by treating the Google Nest as a Bluetooth speaker.

Tap Cast, select your Google Nest device, then begin playing audio on your device. It should play on the Google Nest.

Read next: Funny things to ask Google Assistant