The Google MP3 Store launched today, with heavy features: a Google+ tie-in for free music sharing, the launch of the Artists Hub for independent bands to sell music and YouTube music video features for selling music directly from YouTube videos, free Google music manager streaming of 20,000 songs. T-Mobile is a distribution partner, you can buy music and get billed automatically on your phone bill. It was a big launch, here's some details.
WATCH THE ENTIRE GOOGLE MUSIC LAUNCH VIDEO HERE
You can now buy music through the Android Market, 13 million songs will be available at market.android.com, offered in 320 kbs MP3. When you buy a track from the Android Market, you can recommend and share it with friends on the Google+ social network, and they get one full play of the entire song. Google is clearly excited at this, saying that they're the only one offering this (right now). The presenter previewed a one hour song as he shared it, so there's obviously no time limit. Google Music iPhone and iPad people can't buy music here, it's an Android App only, but iPhone and iPad people can still use the Google Music Beta for cloud-based storage and streaming of their music. The Google Music 4 app for Android was leaked before the Android ICS Launch earlier this year, and now the Android users can use it run the whole Google Music thing.
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.
You free storage of up to 20,000 songs on the Google Music Beta, and Google was clearly excited about this as well, with this week's online drama about the iTunes Match going for a $25 a year subscription (with limitations). "Other services think you have to pay to listen to music you own," they said, an obvious swipe at this week's iTunes match launch.
Google has also tried to revolutionize paying for music with T-Mobile billing, which lets T-Mobile customers buy music through the Android Market and have it show up on their T-Mobile bill. Could this be a revamping of music distribution as we know it? Google Music content partners run deep, with EMI, Universal Music Group and Sony all on board, as well as a big part of the independent music community. They cited Merge Records, Warp Records, Merlin, Beggars Group, IODA, The Orchard and over a thousand independent labels as participating.
Speaking of independent music, Google Music has gone a long way to offer tools to unsigned artists with the Google Music Artists Hub. Independent artists can sell their music song by song or as albums. The Artists Hub lets bands set their own price for their music as well as choose how long your previews are, including full song or or full album previews. There's a great opportunity here to do a one week free preview when you release an album to let people try before they buy. What's more, you can offer links to the Android Market from within your YouTube videos, so if you're video goes viral and blows up with "mad hits," you can offer a chance sell the song or album right from the video. Where was this when Rebecca Black or Susan Boyle blew up?
More Artist Hub details: you create an Artists Page for a one-time fee of $25, which gets you clean-looking layout with bio, artist image, you can add genres for your sounds and web links for your web site and Twitter, or any link you want. Artists keep 70% of album sales, so it's just you and Google in on the take of cash-money. You can monitor sales with online tools at music.google.com/artists. Tiesto is already on the Artists Hub.
So Google definitely wants in on the online music sales space. It'll be interesting to see how they weight in against Apple with iTunes or the Amazon MP3 store. Also, how will links to the Android Market show up in Google searches? They could definitely take that whole game over if they wanted too, but that kind of operation could walk down the road of anti-trust violations. Still, the free song sharing and Artists Hub is a big step forward. Google definitely has an eye towards the independent musician and independent filmmaker.
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