Google has announced its much anticipated music service at the company’s Google I/O developer conference. The service, which is set to go head to head with Apple and Amazon’s next iPod and iPhone killing next generation music players, is a cloud based service which will enable users to upload and store their music on the internet and listen through Android phones, tablets and laptop/desktop computers. No word yet on iPhone compatibility but don’t hold your breath.
Similar to Amazon’s service, with Google Music you can upload your existing music collection to Google’s servers and stream to any number of authorised devices. You can also create playlists on the go that will then be reflected on other devices, and even choose which music you’d like to have offline access to for when you’re not in range of the internet.
Interestingly, it appears that not even the might of Google has been able to bring record companies, in the final throes of a death rattle, to heel. Jamie Rosenberg, the director for digital content for Android devices told the New York Times that in effect, most of the major labels were pains in the arse to deal with.
He said “A couple of major labels were not as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable and did not allow us to build a product or a business on a sustainable business.” Indeed, like Amazon, Google plans to sidestep the major labels until they want to play ball.
“So we’re not necessarily relying on the partnerships that have proven difficult.” He says that Google will work with them to extend their offering but they won’t be paying license fees, describing their new music player as “really a personal storage service in the same way that you would put songs on an iPad or you would put songs on a backup hard drive, so this service does not involve licences for the music industry”.
The service is currently only available in the US by invite. You can request an invite here. Apple who were the first rumoured to be releasing a version of iTunes in the cloud has remained tight-lipped about any new product. But with competition from Google, and a surprising entrance by Amazon, Apple’s hand may very well be forced. Don’t be too surprised if you see iTunes Cloud by the end of the year.