The long-awaited iTunes rival from Google is expected to launch this week at the search giant’s I/O developers conference, but it’s shaping up to have a few less features than was initially expected. Called Music Beta, the service will launch (at least at first) with no record company backing, acting instead as merely a cloud locker for your tunes.
“A couple of major labels were not as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable and did not allow us to build a product or a business on a sustainable business,” said Jamie Rosenberg, director for digital content for Android, to the NY TImes.
“So we’re not necessarily relying on the partnerships that have proven difficult.
“This is really a personal storage service in the same way that you would put songs on an iPad or you would put songs on a backup hard drive, so this service does not involve licenses for the music industry.”
Allowing you to upload any music you own free of charge up to a limit of 20,000 songs, you’ll be able to playback any uploaded music anywhere that you can grab a network connection. That figure is 19,000 songs more than Amazon allow free of charge with their similar cloud service, while the fact that all bought, ripped or downloaded music, regardless of DRM, can be uploaded is an obvious bonus.
Of course, all Android and Honeycomb devices are expected to be compatible with the service, as well as there likely being a browser based version of Music Beta too. Google are said to be exploring the possibilty of extending the app to other operating systems, but they will likely face a brick wall from Apple who are expected to launch their own cloud-based offering next month.