Print 57 comment(s) - last by Enoch2001.. on Sep 22 at 5:53 PM

Is iTunes going to be made obsolete by Google Music, the upcoming cloud-based service from the internet superpower?
iTunes may have met its match

Billboard magazine, one of the oldest and deepest entrenched music magazines, is citing multiple sources as having revealed secret details of Google's upcoming music service.

The new Google Music comes at a price -- $25 a year to be precise -- but it makes Apple's iTunes (in its current implementation) look like a dinosaur.  First the basics; the service will offer direct digital downloads much like Apple.

An album download will reportedly generally cost $7.  Most tracks will cost 70 cents, "superstar tracks" will cost 91 cents, and "catalog tracks" will cost 49 cents.

Your $25 subscription fee comes with a free online music "locker" -- a secure storage site in the cloud – in which you will be able to place your purchases.  From there they can stream your music to any compatible internet connected computer or device.  

The size of the locker was not revealed to the sources.

If that feature is not enough to make Apple blush, this will as well -- Google will be offering a one-time 
full preview, reportedly of every track in its library, similar to what did before Apple acquired it, killing the full-length previews.  Full previews certainly outdo iTunes 20 second previews of 4 minute tracks.

The app for the service would reportedly be entirely web-based, so you don't have to worry about installing pesky applications on your machines.  Additionally Google is reportedly planning on including a mild social network/song sharing service, similar to Apple's new Ping network, with Google Music.

And the biggest upside of all for Google is that the company obviously has vastly more ability to redirect internet traffic to its service than Apple.  While Apple can boast reaching hundreds of millions of users with its iDevices, Google can literally boast reach over a 
billion users worldwide.

The biggest trouble spot for Google, according to the report, is shaping up to be reticence from music labels.  Some industry officials called the proposal "a good start", but others promised that it would see resistance particularly on the issue of track costs and previews.

According to the sources Google's proposal calls for a "50-50" revenue split between master rights holders and Google, with music publishers receiving a 10.5% share.  It's unclear if that 10.5 percent is deducted before the split, or if it will come out of one of the two parties' shares.

The sources say Google is seeking to lock labels into a 3-year contract from the launch of the service in terms of pricing and features agreements.

Users would also be able to use their web app to scan their hard drives and upload files to their music locker -- including music from other services (iTunes, Rhapsody, etc.), songs ripped from CDs (which the RIAA contends is "stealing"), and even songs obtained from P2P networks.  The latter is a thorny issue in the negotiations for labels, but they reportedly realize that it may be inevitable and are pushing Google to, in return, tighten restrictions on its search results to filter out P2P software and torrent sites.

It remains to be seen how music labels ultimately react to the proposal, but planned service certainly sounds like a good deal for customers.  And with music labels already fed up with Apple, they may begrudgingly embrace Google's terms as the lesser of two evils (in their eyes).  Armed with superior technology and brand reach, it might finally put an end to the era of iTunes reigning supreme in the world of digital music sales.

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For $25 a year...
By BigToque on 9/16/2010 4:54:24 PM , Rating: -1
I am cheap as hell when it comes to buying media, and I really like to own the physical media as well, but I would happily buy into this service for $25 a year.

RE: For $25 a year...
By MrTeal on 9/16/2010 5:09:29 PM , Rating: 3
You read that you still have to buy the songs and albums as well, right?

RE: For $25 a year...
By Nehemoth on 9/16/2010 5:26:15 PM , Rating: 3
Doesn't Microsoft have a similar service which for 10 (or more) bucks you get all the music available for a month or so?.

I guess that with the Windows Phone 7 release the Zune store will be revamped and maybe get a better.

Lets hope for that, better competition its good for end users.

RE: For $25 a year...
By quiksilvr on 9/16/2010 9:48:05 PM , Rating: 2
Grooveshark is the best in my opinion. You get unlimited streaming for free on any computer and for $3 a month you get unlimited streaming on your mobile device.

RE: For $25 a year...
By ishould on 9/16/2010 11:55:42 PM , Rating: 2
If you just want to stream your own music you should use jinzora. It's free and is compatible with any device, you just have to set up a home server

RE: For $25 a year...
By BigToque on 9/16/2010 5:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Oops :p

RE: For $25 a year...
By monomer on 9/16/2010 6:56:18 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, from what I can tell, your $25 basically gets you XX GB of storage space in the cloud. While it isn't a horrendous price, depending of course on how much space you get, for me it's really not something I'm interested enough in spending money on.

It would be nice if there was a no-subscription option which allowed you to simply buy and download the songs.

RE: For $25 a year...
By Visual on 9/21/2010 5:29:31 AM , Rating: 2
I very much doubt it works like that. Why do you need your personal storage space at all?
All the songs are already stored there and there is absolutely no point in duplicating them just for you. All that needs to be stored specifically for you is that you have the song purchased so you will be allowed to stream/download it from the common storage.

RE: For $25 a year...
By sprockkets on 9/16/2010 11:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
Surprised the whole digital locker scheme is even an offered feature. Anyone remember the old where this exact feature was offered, and how they were sued out of existence because of this?

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

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