Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Google Music Finally Launches

Google Music Launch image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
After months of public beta, Google Music has finally launched. For those of you who aren't familiar with it yet, Google Music is the big G's version of iCloud, which is a cloud-based locker for storing your music online and accessing it from any device at any time. While it's too early to have many definitive impressions, here's what we know so far.

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.
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Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.


Tom Franklin said...

I'm interested to see if aggregators like TuneCore will be able to include Google Music- what I like about them is for about $50 they are submitting to just about every online service, so it's one-stop shopping for us.

Also, they got our last release on iTunes in about 72 hrs, much quicker than in the past.

Thanks for all you do, enjoyed your bit on Pensado's Place the other day…

AKA Dadooz
Five Smooth Stones
Modern Rock In The Modern Kingdom

Bobby Owsinski said...

Glad you enjoyed the episode, Tom.

I agree that using an aggregator can be worth it, but it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the industry reacts to Artist Hub.

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