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Google reportedly has plans to launch a web-based music sale service that will rival Apple's iTunes.  (Source: Google via TechCrunch)

The new service will reportedly stream music from your PC, over the internet to Android handsets.  (Source: Sprint)
There's a storm brewing -- Google Music is incoming and iTunes must brace itself for the impact

In the world of online music, iTunes has long reigned supreme.  It enjoys such a dominant position that it is currently the subject of a U.S. Federal Trade Commission inquiry investigating whether it abused smaller competitors like

Apple's days as the only big player on the market may be numbered, though.  At Google's I/O conference last month, the company previewed a web-based service for developers.  And
TechCrunch two weeks ago discovered a "Google Music" logo hosted by the company.  Now CNET has joined the buzz, citing numerous industry sources as saying a launch of Google Music could come as soon as the fall.

Google enjoys one critical advantage that could allow its rebel service to ultimately crush Apple's music empire.  That advantage is search.

Close to a billion users visit Google every day, many of them searching for bands, songs, and album titles.  By tying these searches to subscription-based streaming services and web-based digital downloads akin to iTunes, many music executives believe that Google may promise more sales than Apple.

Its rivals have tried to keep Google out of the music business.  After Lala and iLike teamed with Google to offer streaming music with searches, Apple snatched up Lala and Myspace acquired iLike and both companies shut down the streaming.

The decision by Google to launch its own service is like a dream come true for music labels.  They are reportedly fed up with Apple, which currently sells over one quarter of the 
total music sold (digital or otherwise).  However, the current competition -- and Myspace Music -- lack the sales to pose a serious threat, which means that Apple gets to dictate whatever terms it wants to the labels.  That's a situation that they're not very satisfied with.

Zahavah Levine, YouTube's general counsel who previously worked with RealNetworks' Rhapsody music subscription service, is reportedly working to cook up the new service.  YouTube has already enjoyed success in the music business thanks to its plethora of music videos.

Google's new service reportedly will have many unique features.  Among them will be the ability to stream music from a library on your PC to your Android smartphone.  Google picked up a company called Simplify that developed this technology.  Google's service is also reportedly going to be cloud based -- available exclusively as a web application.  While Apple is also reportedly working on a cloud version of iTunes, Google reportedly wants to beat Cupertino to the punch.

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RE: Here's hoping....
By Quadrillity on 6/15/2010 4:10:42 PM , Rating: 5
I would also like to see the ability to download uncompressed or very high fidelity music instead of 5MB garbage. Some of us out there actually enjoy music, and have thousands of dollars tied up in audio equipment to prove it.

RE: Here's hoping....
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/15/2010 5:24:45 PM , Rating: 2
Even without spending thousands of dollars, the difference between FLAC and MP3 is audible with a $100 set of headphones. This is the sole reason I don't purchase music downloads. Instead I buy and rip CDs, which is actually cheaper as well if you buy them used. A used CD in 'like new' condition through Amazon 3rd parties is usually around $5 including shipping. The only catch is you have to wait a week to get it.

RE: Here's hoping....
By radializer on 6/15/2010 8:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
A used CD in 'like new' condition through Amazon 3rd parties is usually around $5 including shipping. The only catch is you have to wait a week to get it.

Actually, there's more of a catch.

There aren't many CDs where I want every single song - and this number is dwindling quite fast with the current crop of what-passes-for-music. Downloads allow a la carte purchasing - something that cannot be done with your method.

OF course, the best solution is someone providing partially and fully-lossless downloads -- even if they are available for a higher price, at least the option to purchase would exist.

NIN did this from their website for the "Ghosts I-IV" and "The Slip" albums - and they provided 36 songs encoded at 320kbps MP3 as well as FLAC versions for $5 only!

I'm not holding my breath for a widespread adoption of such distribution schemes in the future though ...

RE: Here's hoping....
By LRonaldHubbs on 6/16/2010 7:54:00 AM , Rating: 3
I agree, lossless single-song downloads are the best solution, and that's where the market needs to move. It doesn't really affect me though because all the artists I listen to produce solid albums. In fact, it's rare that I listen to any kind of random or mixed playlist; I always just listen through entire albums.

RE: Here's hoping....
By Exodite on 6/16/2010 4:33:49 AM , Rating: 2
Indeed, it's ridiculous that the TV series I watch in digital copy have higher quality audio tracks embedded than most of the actual music that can be purchased.

Once upon a time space mattered and highly compressed mp3 made sense. Today however I wouldn't mind is music took ten times the space as long as I'd get original quality.

"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet.  A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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