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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RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Tony Swash on 9/17/2010 12:30:02 PM , Rating: 2
The Android platform only has a few required items from Google. That was one of them. Surprisingly, Search provider is not one of them which explains the Samsung Fascinate that use Bing for some odd reason. Motorola was trying to make some money going to Skyhook, but forgot to read their licensing agreements.

So basically you think Google's actions are OK? What do other people think?

Also, the CD burner issue is fairly common. My wife accidentally let iTunes get installed with a Quicktime update. I didn't even notice it was on there until I found out that I couldn't burn audio disks anymore. Had to do a restore to get rid of iTunes. Solved the problem. I think it is a copy-protection bug that doesn't play nice with many burners.

Raising this issue in response to my comments about behaviour by Google is probably just an attempt to shift the debate from Google to Apple - I guess some people feel more comfortable moaning about Apple rather than discussing what Google is actually up to.

RE: Google reminds me of.......
By NoSpinHere on 9/22/2010 11:48:00 AM , Rating: 2
You say Apple’s (and yes Tony, Apple is synonymous with Itunes) prime driver is the consumer – you are right; however, brand loyalty is key here, and this is where Apple is extremely vulnerable. I have been an Itunes customer since inception of the IPod Mini (say 8 years ago?) but have no loyalty to Apple or its Itunes music service. Apple’s motto must be "Money first and to hell with customer service". If you import any non-Itunes song, the track skips (by Itunes' design of course), forcing you to ditch the song and buy it from Itunes. Even a simple task like changing a battery in an IPod is not allowed, forcing customers to buy yet another IPod. Some Itunes updates wipe out your playlists; for me, these were developed over years and I can’t tell you the anger I felt. “Back up your playlists” you say? Itunes backup feature forces you to use disks instead of an external hard drive or the likes (this takes hours when your talking about 2,000 songs. Apple employs “Force-buy” tactics with its customers and has enjoyed success because it has been the only game in town for years. During this time, Apple has shown its blatant and unwavering arrogance. I hope to be Google's first customer when its music service hits the market, and will gladly trash my IPod and delete Itunes from my hard drive. I recently experienced one of Google's great products and customer service when using one of its Android smart phones: Six months ago I switched from an IPhone to a T-Mobile Android driven smart phone - I absolutely love it. On top of its superior Android OS (relative to Apple's IOS), Google's customer service is stellar. I even get quarterly newsletter discussing new apps and other critical news. Google via TMobile advertises "We don't forget about you" and they proved it with me firsthand. When a new version of Android’s OS was unveiled, Google made available an update for all existing Android phone users and did not force us to buy a new phone; my smart phone is now even faster than before. Now that's customer service! Conversely with the IPhone, if you want to take advantage of new technology or upgrades to the IOS, you are forced to buy a new phone (recall the Itunes motto). Bring it on with the music service Google! You have millions of Itunes customers waiting on the sidelines to make the switch (just like they are doing now switching from the IPhone IOS to your Android OS). I’ll pay $25 a year essentially for customer service, and make up for it with lower priced music tracks. It’s a no-brainer conversion from Itunes.

RE: Google reminds me of.......
By Enoch2001 on 9/22/2010 5:48:34 PM , Rating: 2
If you import any non-Itunes song, the track skips (by Itunes' design of course), forcing you to ditch the song and buy it from Itunes.

Sorry, what? Import any non-Tunes song? I buy most of my music from Amazon (cheaper than iTunes usually) and these tracks import fine into iTunes (which I use to manage my music for iPod/iPhone playback). And your opinion of Android being superior to iOS4 is purely an opinion, as I find Android a bloated and cluttered cluster phuk of an OS. That said, at least with Froyo it no longer feels like a beta test...

"I mean, if you wanna break down someone's door, why don't you start with AT&T, for God sakes? They make your amazing phone unusable as a phone!" -- Jon Stewart on Apple and the iPhone

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