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Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Google Music Finally Launches
1) When Google Music launched in beta earlier this year, it had exactly zero licenses from the major labels, a fact that didn't make negotiating with them afterwards none too easy. That said, GM officially launched with agreements from Universal Music Group, EMI, and at the last minute, Sony Music, as well as a host of independents. It's probably only a matter of time until Warner Music falls in line as well. I haven't heard what the license fees were yet, but regardless the amount paid, you can bet that most artists won't see much of it. The Google Music store will start off with about 13 million songs available.
2) It's free to the end-user for up to 20,000 songs, which should satisfy the music collections of the vast majority of users (that's about 2,000 albums worth).
3) Their "Artist Hub" section of the service allows anyone to directly upload, manage, and sell music without the need for a middleman like Tuncore or CDBaby. They say they'll pay artists 70% of the sale price and only charge a one-time upfront fee of $25.
4) T-Mobile customers will soon be able to pay for their music purchases directly through their phone bills, as they currently can with purchases from the Android Market. This is something that the music industry has wanted for ages.
5) Users will be able to put iTunes music into their music lockers, and the Google Music Manager is even supposed to retain users’ playlists and ratings.
6) As you would expect, Google+ is connected to Google Music, making it easy to share songs and playlists either publicly or with select groups of friends through the network’s Circles feature.
Out of all of these points, I think that the Artist Hub is a big deal and it should be interesting to see if iTunes follows with something similar. Right now you pretty much need an aggregatorlike Tunecore to get your songs on iTunes and it takes some time for that to happen. Let's see if Google Music has streamlined the process any.
We'll keep an eye on Google Music in the coming days and report any new info that we find.