Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Google Launches A New Streaming Music Service

Google logo image
Yesterday Google introduced its new streaming music service called All Access, but surprise, surprise - it's not the same one that's been rumored for months.

Previous reports had it that Google's new service would be built around YouTube, which made a lot of sense since the majority of people discover new music through that video service anyway. It seems that both services will live in parallel, the difference being that All Access will be subscription only with no free tier. Users will have to pay $10 per month for the service ($8 if you subscribe by the end of June) with a 30 day free trial.

While we don't know for sure what's in store over at YouTube, We do have a little more information about the list of All Access features. It appears to combine your personal music collection with any available tracks in their catalog into a single searchable library, and of course, Google excels at search so everything should be easy to find. It also has auto-recommendation-based radio stations that allow you to customize your playlists.

A couple of things about Google All Access are very interesting:

1. Google beat Apple to the punch. The tough part about launching any kind of digital music service is making a deal with the major labels. The fact that Google accomplished this before Apple probably means that the labels pushed for a better deal and got it. This had the dual purpose of stymying Apple's attempts as well, as the company has reportedly only recently upped the terms of what they were willing to pay, and still haven't completed deals with Warners and Sony.

2. There's another service vying for marketshare. Although Amazon is king of the hill in terms of online retailers, their music site hasn't made nearly the mark that was anticipated, especially when you consider the marketshare that Android phones enjoy. As more and more consumers discover the joy of accessing music versus owning it, the marketshare that it has (about 13%) could shift in a hurry, especially if Apple doesn't introduce its service in the short term. Google as a behemoth company stands on the same ground as Amazon, and could easily eat their digital lunch and maybe Apple's too when it's all said and done. After all, they have an installed base of all those Android phones.

As has been the theme here lately, we're witnessing a big change in the music business occur right before our eyes, and it's going to be better for musicians in the long run. Today every artist and songwriter complains about the meager revenue they receive from streaming, but remember that as of now it's only expected to total $1.7 billion at the end of 2013. Considering that iTunes throws off twice that in royalties to the major labels alone every year, you can see where this is eventually going to go. Unfortunately, no royalty details were mentioned during the announcement yesterday (no surprise there).

Streaming probably won't replace the income of the glory days of CDs, but things will eventually be better than they are now in the transition period from one distribution method (downloads) to another (streaming).

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1 comment:

Michele Ari said...

"Today every artist and songwriter complains about the meager revenue they receive from streaming, but remember that as of now it's only expected to total $1.7 billion at the end of 2013."

How long should we wait to get paid fairly? You realize that the waiters serving the CEOs & sales people of these "services" are the ones having to carry on picking up their dirty plates day after day and year after year while they/we wait for our pay-off. Maybe their pay for their music comes back around in their tips. Seems fair.

Its important to realize that during the waiting period many will have to quit because they can't pay bills or afford food.

And then where will we be?


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