What's This Google Music Nonsense All About?What's This Google Music Nonsense All About?
Google is going to launch a music service? Really? That's what reports suggest today, with informed sources confirming that Google is set to bow the service with partners LaLa and iLike -- complete with blessings from the four major record labels. Does Google really expect to be able to make money with this venture?
October 21, 2009
Google is going to launch a music service? Really? That's what reports suggest today, with informed sources confirming that Google is set to bow the service with partners LaLa and iLike -- complete with blessings from the four major record labels. Does Google really expect to be able to make money with this venture?According to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch, Google is prepared to introduce a new music search service that will allow users to discover and at least stream music live -- all on the Google home page. After the news broke, Google issued invitations to those in the media which describe a launch event to take place on October 28 in Hollywood, complete with musical guests.
Google is providing its search engines. LaLa Media and iLike are helping provide the back-end services. Further, Warner Music Group, EMI Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group have all sanctioned the service and licensed their music catalogs accordingly. Whoa. TechCrunch reports that the service will be integrated with Google Search, and users will be able to stream music live from iLike and LaLa. It is believed that results will include other relevant information such as links to band Web sites, YouTube videos, etc. What's not clear at all is if (and more importantly, how) users can purchase music through the service, which is tentatively being called One Box. How will Google make money with this? Well, the Wall Street Journal -- citing informed sources -- reports, "Revenue from sales would be split between the music services and the record labels. Google views the initiative as a way of improving its search system in order to retain users, not as a direct source of revenue." In other words, whatever ads are displayed along with the search results are what Google is counting on to make a buck here, not that actual sale or transmission of media. But why bother? I am an avid consumer of music, and I purchase anywhere from two to 10 albums per month depending on what my favorite artists are up to. Apple's iTunes Music Store is the largest retailer of music. Other streaming and downloading services are out there offering plenty of competition. A short list would include Rhapsody, Spotify, Pandora, Slacker and myriad others. If I want to listen to samples of or buy any music, I first check iTunes and then Amazon's MP3 store. If what I am looking for isn't available in either place, well, it pretty much isn't available anywhere else. WIll Google's service be able to help me find more obscure stuff easier? I know plenty of people enjoy streaming music, but I rarely do. Sometimes I find it rewarding to fire up Slacker and create a radio station and listen for a while, but most often I play recorded media I've already purchased via my laptop or phone. For me, providing search results that only allows for streaming of music in 30-second snippets doesn't go far enough. A purchasing model has to be built in. How many are like me? Who knows. Can Google make enough money by serving ads to this new music search service to make it worthwhile? Apparently it thinks it can. Using such a vehicle to "retain users" reeks of desperation, though, a knee-jerk reaction to stem a loss. What does Google think it is missing out on here? Hopefully these and more questions will be answered on October 28.
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