Google has indeed been working on a Google Music Store to tie in with its Google+ social network. Google Music users would be allowed to recommend songs to their Google+ contacts, and those songs could be be listened to once in full, for free, and any listening beyond that would require a purchase from the Google MP3 Store at a cost of about a dollar. The recent news puts the Google Music launch at sometime in the next two weeks, according to a report today in WSJ.
"Executives at Google have told people in the music industry that they plan to start the music-download service this week or next week, even though they are unlikely to secure the rights to sell music from at least two of the four major label groups in time," reads the report.
Right now it looks like EMI is fully on board with licensed music, while Universal Music is still negotiating with Google, and is unsure of be complete before launch. Which leaves Warner and Sony out of the loop for now, either because their taking a wait and see approach or because their negotiations are lagging behind the others. WSJ also claims that two independent labels were on board for launch.
So this puts to rest the notion of it only being a Google music service, or music player only. This follows on the heels of a lot of recent Google Music Beta happenings, including the leak of a Google Music app (version 4.0.1), showing that the Google Music Android experience would happen. It showed a lot of improvements, including an improved interface and better options. The Google Music iOS app also quietly went online in September at http://music.google.com/, offering a browser-based version of the Google Music player instead of an app. This might have had something to do with Apple's asking of a high cut of the money from in-app sales, so any Google Music Store experience would serve Google better if they didn't have to fork over money to Apple.
Google Music allows for 20,000 songs stored free of charge, offline playback of your music as well as direct streaming.
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide. Check out more news about music apps and streaming music on the Digital Music News page.