Well after years of haggling with record companies, Google last week finally unveiled its new Android-centric Google Music service and to say that it borrows a lot from iTunes would be quite an understatement. But hey, if the model works, why change it.
Like iTunes, songs on Google Music will be available at pricepoints ranging from $0.69 to $1.29. As it stands now, Google Music houses over 13 million tracks available for purchase.
The store offers more than 13 million tracks from artists on Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and the global independent rights agency Merlin as well as over 1,000 prominent independent labels including Merge Records, Warp Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Naxos. We’ve also partnered with the world’s largest digital distributors of independent music including IODA, INgrooves, The Orchard and Believe Digital.
You can purchase individual songs or entire albums right from your computer or your Android device and they’ll be added instantly to your Google Music library, and accessible anywhere.
Note here that that there’s one music label conspicuously missing – the Warner Music Group. Warner Music is the third largest record label in the US and commands about 20% of the market.
Moving along, Google’s ongoing and seemingly never-ending quest to make Google+ a viable competitor to Facebook (which ain’t never gonna happen if you ask us), Google did roll out a cool feature enabling tracks downloaded from Google Music to be posted to a user’s Google+ account and streamed by friends for one-play.
Also cool is a feature Google has dubbed “Artist Hub.” This particular feature lets independent acts build their own artist page and sell their original songs via the Android Market at prices they can decide on their own. In doing so, Google will keep 30% of all sales with 70% going to the musicians. The one caveat is that Google Music charges users a $25 setup fee for each artist page, but that’s really small potatoes if you’re an up and coming – and unsigned – artist looking to make a big splash.
But overall, the important story here is that Google finally has a viable alternative to Apple’s iTunes Music Store and is certainly assembling a number of important pieces to help it string together its own ecosystem a’la Apple.