Google Music was in private beta since Google I/O when the search giant first announced it. Google has spent all the summer learning from the Google Music beta. Today Google Music is open to the general public in the USA.
According to the company, streaming from any web browser was a big hit and new music discovery has also a big hit: 100 million free songs were distributed in the beta users’ libraries and since 200 million Android devices were activated worldwide, Android provides “unprecedented reach”, says Google.
The picture above shows how the Google Music app looks like on Android 2.2+, we followed the live demo, check the complete article to read how it works.
The Cloud and offline availability
Google Music lets you choose which music to sync to the cloud for, it is great to be able to control what appears offline is great versus having a cache that you don’t control. It is possible to stream anything from your personal library and you can “pin” music to make it available offline.
Music discovery and sharing
Google has worked on content curation. The goal is to let you come in without an idea of what you want, and see you leave with something you love. Users are able to share their tastes on Google+ , the service provides 90 seconds previews. Google makes sharing feature directly available from the buying screen, every time your friends buy a track and share it on Google+, you get a free full play of that particular track and then you can play the song from your G+ timeline.
Google Music Store on the web and availability in Android 2.2+
Here’s what the music store looks like on the web (photo above), everyday, there is going to be a free song and it will feature interviews and other information relevant to the artists. The free play is not limited to the web, it works on Android and iOS devices as well.
To access the Google Music content and the Google Music app, you need to update your Android Market app in Android 2.2+, the apps will be available within hours and will be available to all US-based users.
Since Steve Jobs launched iTunes in 2007, we all know that digital content delivery platforms cannot do anything without partnering with major content creation companies. Google has such a dominant reach on the web and on mobile now that big names such as Universal, EMI and Sony Music jumped on board…
Many heavy hitters and independant labels (1000+) are on board, and that’s 13 million tracks, and more is coming. Check the complete list of partners in the screen shot below.
Additionally, Google closed exclusive partnerships with top artists The Rolling Stones, ColdPlay, Busta Rhymes, Shakira, Pearl Jam and Dave Matthew Band.
Artist HUB: Promoting Independent Artists
Learning from MySpace (and Facebook), I guess, Google aims at promoting independent artists by leveraging its web and mobile platform. They will be able to customize their artists page (photo above), upload their content, set their own prices and sell their songs directly to the public.
To do so, Google will reach upcoming artists with the Google Music HUB. Music can be submitted through this HUB, and an artist can build a page in the store, feature his/her content and sell music from there just for a $25 fee, that’s awesome!
Additionally, artists are in control of their previews: they can put previews or live concerts recording on the page. Google is also working with the YouTube team to let artists sell their content from there.
As for the revenue share, artists keep 70% of the sales, and there’s no additional fee. I bet if traditional music labels were in charge, they would have never gotten such a great deal!
Billing and free music with T-Mobile
T-Mobile was the first carrier to launch Android. T-Mobile customers will be able to pay for music directly from the T-Mobile billing system and the carrier is going to offer free music through the end of the year.
75% of T-Mobile customers own a smartphone, and 90% of which runs Android. Video consumption accounts for 50% of the data at T-mo and audio counts for 15%.