The Google Music Beta is now up and running to the delight of Google and it's partners, EMI Group, Universal Music and Sony Music. It's not certain that actual users will welcome the service with open arms yet but we can be sure that it won't be so warmly welcomed by Amazon, Apple and Microsoft who now have to deal with another contender in the $6.8 billion dollar online music industry.
The concept of Google Music is nothing terribly original, everyone is familiar with Zune, iTunes and the Amazon Music Store already and Google is trying to tie Google Music into the social aspect of users lives to change the way recommendations are made and how users purchase music according to Google's director of content partnerships, Zahava Levine.
Recommendations from friends are the single most important way that people discover new music. And we think that this social feature has the potential to really transform purchasing behavior.
Find out what role Google+ and Android devices will play in the success of Google Music after the break.
Some of you may still remember Google+ and for those of you who don't or haven't used it in awhile, it's Google's version of Facebook. Well, Google+ is how they intend to leverage the social aspect of Google Music by allowing friends to share music purchases and albums throughout the service. Microsoft has some similar capabilities with the Zune Marketplace but it probably won't come around until that shiny new social network, Socl, that Microsoft leaked a while ago comes to life. Apple attempted to do something similar with their epicly failed Pingsocial network that was integrated with iTunes but perhaps Google can get it right, so long as they can convince people to start using Google+ again.
8 million songs are currently available at $0.99 per song and Google intends to eventually expand their offering to 13 million by adding partnerships with over 1,000 independent labels. Another service you haven't thought about in a while is My______ and Google Music is getting in on that action too by offering bands the ability to create a band page for $25 and sell their own music while keeping 70% of the sale. Google Music is now available in the Android Market and the ever increasing proliferation of Android devices which own over 50% of the global smartphone market now is probably their only saving grace as far as what will help them get Google Music adoption rates high. One last thing to mention is that by downloading Google Music Manager, users will be able to sync content across all their Android devices so they haven't forgotten about "the Cloud" either.
What do you think about Google Music? Will it be able to dethrone iTunes or will it be fighting for second place?