In Google’s next attempt to be a little more like Apple, it appears they are launching a new music download service. This new offering, tentatively named Google Music, is expected to function much like the iTunes store and provide users with the ability to purchase and download music.
It is also expected that this new service will be tightly integrated with Google+, allowing users of the social media system to recommend and share music with their friends who would then in turn be able to listen to the track once before deciding whether to make a purchase.
If songs are purchased they will be in MP3 format and available at a cost of around $0.99 each. This makes sense given the pricing structure seen (and successfully deployed) by Apple already.
The library available is already setup under Google Music Beta which functions much like iCloud by allowing users to upload and store their personal music collections for access remotely by multiple devices.
News reports currently indicate that Google only has agreements in place with 2 of he 4 major record labels, which could prove to be a real problem for the search giant. If users hit their store and aren’t able to find the song they are looking for, chances are they will be turned off and may never return. (particularly when iTunes is likely to have it) The two holdouts are Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment and Access Industries Inc.’s Warner Music Group, both with considerable and desirable catalogs.
The question remains whether Google can compete and be successful in this arena. Other services such as those provided by Spotify have seen marginal success (when compared to iTunes), but continue to grow in popularity. Spotify in particular operates as more of a subscription-based service and is tied directly to Facebook which means their success is hinged on the social media site remaining at the top of their game. This may mean they are actually more direct competition for Google Music if the Google+ integration becomes their key selling point.
Are you likely to give the Google Music download service a shot? Are you happy with iTunes?