Ater several months in Beta mode, Google Music has finally come to Android in an attempt to unseat Apple’s dominance in the song download market.
Owners of a Google-powered handset will now be able to access music from labels such as Sony, Universal and the now defunct EMI but not Warner Music who are yet to sign up. Furthermore, the service is unavailable outside the US since Google has failed to negotiate global licensing deals.
To entice new users to Google Music, the service launches with exclusive content from the The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Shakira and Busta Rhymes. Remember him?
Tracks from the Google Music are encoded in MP3 format at 320Kbps with prices ranging from 69c to 99c and $1.29.
“They’ve got to get that [music] catalog filled pretty quickly,” commented Mike McGuire, an analyst at technology research firm Gartner, to The Guardian. “It’s a launch, but it’s kind of like a work-in-progress.”
Commenting on the launch in a blogpost, Google claimed its new service “offers more than 13m tracks” with the unique ability to “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”.
In our humble opinion, Google Music is still lacking in some serious wow factor despite its capacity to remotely store 20,000 tracks in the cloud. Conforming to the classic Google stereotype of launching a product before it’s ready, this MP3 download service might fill a gap in Android’s arsenal but there’s no unique selling point that makes it worth signing up to.
If Warner Music come on board and all tracks are available internationally Google Music could still carve out its own segemnt of the market although its unlikely Spotify, Amazon and 7 Digital will be quaking in their Android boots yet.