Google launched its long-overdue music store today, roughly eight years into the reign of Apple’s iTunes Store, which just sold its 16 billionth song. Clearly Google has a lot of catching up to do—and that’s just with Apple. Amazon has had a digital music store since 2007 that’s known for its aggressive pricing, while Facebook recently integrated third-party streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, and MOG.
Tuesday, Google Launched Music Beta, a cloud-based music service that lets you stream all your songs from any device. Well, any Android-based device, at least according to Google. But as we learned after a day of playing, Music Beta can work just as well without Android—and that may just be where Google has a leg up against Apple and iTunes.
It all started at CES in January of 2010. That’s when Google met with execs from various major record labels, I’m told, to discuss launching a possible music service. The meetings were very exploratory, but it sounded at the time like the service would be cloud-based.
Fast forward to the present, and rumors of Google’s music service haven’t become any clearer: We’ve seen leaked screenshots, read of relevant music acquisitions and internal testing, and heard reports of stalled negotiations. As one music industry source recently told me, "Google music is now surpassing Spotify as the best music service that never launched."
However, negotiations between Google and the labels are still very active… continued.