November 17th, 2011

Google launches iTunes Match rival

Google MusicGoogle launched Google Music on Tues­day - its free online music ser­vice that will let users upload 20,000 songs from their cur­rent lib­rar­ies and pur­chase new music from Google. That music can be stored on Google’s ser­vices and accessed by a vari­ety of devices, includ­ing Android-​based phones, tab­lets, and other computers.

The new ser­vice is clearly Google’s answer to Apple’s iTunes Match — iTunes with iCloud stor­age — and builds on Google’s Music Beta ser­vice by allow­ing users to pur­chase new songs. Google has partnered with EMI, Uni­ver­sal, and Sony, as well as dozens of smal­ler inde­pend­ent labels, to offer thir­teen mil­lion songs on its debut, although only in the US. Warner is the only one of the big four record com­pan­ies not involved.

The record com­pan­ies appear to be have a little more lat­it­ude in set­ting their prices. Tracks are avail­able in the store for $0.69, $0.99, and $1.29.

T-​Mobile — the one remain­ing major car­rier in the U.S. that isn’t selling Apple’s iPhone — will be able to accept pay­ments from its cus­tom­ers on their monthly phone bills, for songs pur­chased from Google Music.

Google also sees an oppor­tun­ity for smal­ler bands to use Google Music as a tool to pro­mote them­selves with a fea­ture called Artist Hub. Bands can set up an artist page for $25, where they can post a bio­graphy, pic­tures, links, and actu­ally sell their songs through Google Music, with Google tak­ing a 30% cut.

Google is also help­ing its Google+ social net­work users to “spread the word”. When Google+ users share their music pur­chases it will allow their Google+ friends to play the track once for free.

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