Nov 18, 2011

Music Google-ution!

Google Music launched on Thursday, so I now can see my favorite bands from space?  Not quite, but it does appear the new music service will give iTunes a run for its money.  Just based on the reach and scale of Google and Android (Android's market share has doubled in the last year) compared to Apple and iTunes, you would think by default the behemoth has a competitive advantage, but there does appear to be a few features in Google Music that will put iTunes to the test.

Based on the breakdown in Venture Beat, here are some of the things you can look forward to with your Google Music account:
  1. New and Unique Artists:  As opposed to iTunes, which is very selective with who they add to their library of music, Google intends to allow anyone with rights to their own music (which is anyone with  a guitar and Garage Band) to sell their musical musings through the Android music market for a nominal fee ($25).  This will not only give artists an opportunity to sell their music and earn a living, but it will expand the number of songs available for people like me who enjoy hearing new and innovative sounds!  Of course, the downside is that every schmuck who believes they have talent (and I include myself in this group) will now be posting songs to Google Music.  Ugh ... it's bad enough I have to listen to myself in the shower.  There is, however, a potential solution to this (sigh of relief), which brings up point number two ...
  2. Music Googling: Obviously, with such an immense collection of music, it will be difficult to find the diamonds from the dingleberries.  Google, however, will be able to link your preferences and those of your close friends through your interaction with Google+, allowing both you and those with similar tastes to share your music likes, purchases and listens.  As well, the more you "G+" in and around the web, the more big brother, er I mean Google understands your preferences (I wonder how my G+ to David Hasselhoff will affect my preferences?).  As well, a new feature will allow your Google+ network to listen to any new music you purchase, one time ... and you the same.  That is pretty cool.
  3. Licensing: Google wasn't able to secure a license with Warner Brothers, but the platform on which Google is built will inevitably give Google Music listeners a means around this.  As the service grows and the number of listeners swell, so will their leverage with the music companies.  Regardless, I would expect Google to start Google Records sometime soon with the immense amount of new artists they will accumulate in their library.  I also expect a great number of B-Side songs!  
Google Music is not without it's limitations.  Apparently, you can ONLY (emphasis here) download 20,000 music tunes.  Wow, really?  That's it?  Only 69 straight days of music ... how can anyone survive on that?  I am also told that iTunes allows 25,000 downloads, so hey, advantage ... iTunes?  Regardless, as 4G goes to 5G and beyond, and broadband becomes more prominent around the country, I question whether we will ever need to download anything again?  All of our music will be kept in the "cloud", so eventually we'll all just be listening to music on a hard drive in some far off land ... more than likely, on a Google Earth satellite.

Regardless, it all seems too much to choose from, so until all the dust settles, I'll just stick with my Pandora.  I love you Pandora (*sigh*).

UPDATE: Hopefully, Google Music can avoid this: