Last night Google launched their online music store in the US which will allow all devices running the Android operating system to buy, store and stream MP3 files.
Google have launched the service with the backing of some of the industries largest record labels behind them including EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal along with 23 independent labels. The only major label missing from the collection was Warner Music group. Even without some of the big Warner bands such as Led Zeppelin, Linkin Park and Prince it is still launching with a catalog of 13 million songs.
It will be a direct competitor to Apple and Amazon with their respective music stores and streaming services. The new music service will also use a cloud based storage system much like its major competitors, giving users free storage for 20,000 songs. The music store is just the latest in a line of innovations by the search engine giant most recently their social network Google+.
A recent study showed that more than half of all smartphones purchases between July and September ran Android, almost 60 million devices. In the same time period IOS handsets accounted for just 15% of all purchased devices, however you cant read a great deal into this as this was the month before the Iphone 4S was released. But for Google this is the perfect time to launch this feature for their smartphone market.
The new music service will incorporate Google+ by allowing users to share songs with their circles who can listen to the track fully once without having to buy it. Songs will come without DRM copy protect so you can share the file with your friends, promoting the more social music aspect that Google seem to be going for. There will also be a free track to download every day.
New artists wanting to get into the industry can get a helping hand from Google, with it’s new Artist Hub. Artists will pay $25 to set up their own page and set their own prices. Google will take a 30% cut from all sales.
“It’s not exactly innovative, but the reality is that Google will get success in the same way it has in other markets – by making the most of its strengths in search and Android, and it will keep chipping away,” said COlin Gillis, technology analyst at BGC Partners.
There were however no talk of it launched outside of the US as of yet, due to ongoing negotiations between Google and record labels about selling the songs outside of the US. Another feature that sounds like it will be US only will be the ability for T-Mobile customers to charge songs to their monthly phone bill instead of entering their credit card information.
It sounds like the service is offering some good innovations the one thing im most looking forward to is the tracks not being DRM protected so being able to share the tracks with your friends. These seemingly small feature will literally allow your friends to search your library and pick the things they like, almost like a google search made by your friends.