Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

Summary: Google Music hits the web for the public to enjoy while Android hits a major milestone in record time.

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TOPICS: Google
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Google Music is no longer available only in beta mode to a limited pool of test group users. Now the digital streaming service is opening to the public.

Better yet, everyone can access Google Music for free and store up to 20,000 of the tracks they already own.

"Other music services think you have to pay to listen to music you already own. We don’t," said Jamie Rosenberg, Google's director of Android digital content while unveiling the latest version of Google Music at a media event in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

However, that doesn't mean Google won't stop you from giving it money for music entirely. Google is expanding its focus on digital music to include at millions of tracks for sale in the Android Market. Specifically, Google will offer 8 million initially with the promise of 13 million total soon.

Each track will be sold as a 320kbps MP3 file, and pricing ranges from 99 cents to $1.29 per song.

A big change this time around is that Google has secured major label partners this time around, specifically Sony, EMI and Universal Music, among thousands of other indie labels. And for you Coldplay fans out there wondering why the British group is not making their latest album available on streaming services like Spotify, this deal with Google Music is likely the explanation.

Rosenberg explained that today's technologies, including high-speed networks, mobile operating systems (i.e. Android), social networks (i.e. Google+), and advancements in cloud services can dramatically improve digital music.

“In fact, it's what customers have come to expect,” Rosenberg added.

Since Music Beta first debuted after Google I/O earlier this year on a limited, invitation-only basis, Rosenberg said that Google learned that the feature users loved most was that their music was available to them from all devices instantly without having to transfer them anywhere. Rosenberg also noted that the average beta user streamed music about two and a half hours per day.

Naturally, there's also going to be some big tie-ins to other Google products -- chiefly Google+. For example,  listeners on Google Music can share content (meaning, entire songs) via Circles and they can see what they're friends are listening to on their friend streams.

And much like what Starbucks does with iTunes, Google Music will be offering free tracks everyday.

Google also seems to be reaching to take away the last thing that might be holding up MySpace at all, which is artist promotion. Basically, Google is enabling music artists to be able to set up pages (for a one-time $25 fee) with music, metadata info, and more. Artists will keep 70 percent of revenue of sales in the Android Market, without any upload fees, etc.

The other big revelation at the event was that Google has now activated more than 200 million Android devices -- that's double from the 100 million mark it hit this past May.

The updated web music player is available on the desktop and for Android tablets and smartphones in the U.S. immediately -- no invitation required.

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Topic: Google

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33 comments
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  • Is it settled that this is legal?

    Given that this is essentially MP3.com all over again, I would assume it isn't.
    x I'm tc
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @jdakula

      Welcome to the new Napster, who has enough money to fight.
      mm71
      • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

        @mm71
        sure but the question is, which android is better? Samsung? LG? Motorola? HTC?

        While these companies duke it out. Apple will continue to dominate with itunes.
        Bakabaka
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @jdakula
      Well considering the fact that all of the major labels are on board except for Warner I'd say it is quite legal. What a stupid question.
      Nathan A Smith
      • Re: What a stupid question.

        @Nathan A Smith Not necessarily. Considering that Viacom is still trying to sue Google/YouTube over videos that their [i]own[/i] executives uploaded, it is well to try to be sure that the labels will not suddently turn around and decide to demand more money or shut down the service altogether if they think it's getting too successful.
        ldo17
  • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

    There's nothing new here. Don't see any reason to be particularly enthusiastic. They are just doing something that already exist for ages.
    atari_z
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @atari_z: Not really. This is tied into the Google+ and Android ecosystem. Something iOS has had in the equivalent ecosystem for some time now.
      bradavon
  • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

    I see Warner is missing.<br><br>Ironically Coldplay isn't on Spotify here in The UK either but I guess is on Google Music, which you cannot access in The UK! Something stinks, when the country the band come from can't listen to their new album. All their other work is.<br><br>I pay for Spotify and if they're not going to give it to me that way, they're giving me permission to go elsewhere.<br><br>"Open to the public", if you live in The USA!<br>"Better yet, everyone can access Google Music", if you live in The USA!<br><br>It sucks how all these services are US centric. Apple and Amazon are no better. Amazon haven't even released the Kindle Touch internationally. Why on earth not?<br><br>They're international brands! Spotify was Europe only for ages but you cannot exactly put them in same league.<br><br>As it happens I am using the Google Music Desktop App/Online storage. You've just got to get past it's stupid US only registration restrictions first. Although I rarely actually use it, Spotify trumps it every time.<br><br>The Google Music Android App can be side-loaded (local content only outside of The USA). It's okay I guess. I prefer PlayerPro. At least on smartphones, Google Music looks excellent on tablets.

    p.s - It's totally weird Apple has never introduced artist pages too. They're ideally placed to kill off MySpace. It's literally the only trump card they have left. It's a lot better than Facebook/Twitter for discovering artist information/new tracks.
    bradavon
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @bradavon idk man. Idk why brands are like that. But I'm in the USA and I don't use any of these services.
      Jimster480
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @bradavon Google is a US company; it's entirely logical that they'd launch there first (like with almost every other G service). Don't worry, once the record companies are signed up for the UK, and the teething troubles (soon to be discovered and reported on zdnet!) are sorted, we Brits will get the service.
      Heenan73
      • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

        @Heenan73 ,,, I think you deserve to get the "service" but OTOH long before this all started I had created and saved/backed up my own set of thousands of titles. Current "modern" music holds no interest for me - we're in a serious down-turn of enjoyable music, vocals and authors/performers. They've done nothing but grow consistantly worse over the last decade.
        tom@...
  • What music services make you pay to listen to music you already own?

    I have not witnessed this. If youpurchase a song at iTunes, it is yours to listen and burn to a CD if you wish. The same holds true for Zune Marketplace.

    So how can Google claim they continue to charge you to listen to those previously prurchased songs?
    Tim Cook
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @Mister Spock: They're referring to being able to upload your existing music to the cloud. Something iTunes also offers. So like you say.
      bradavon
      • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

        @bradavon

        And with iTunes match for a small <em>yearly</em> fee, if you have music that you ripped off cd (or "acquired" elsewhere) that exists on the iTunes store, and its able to match the music they give you 256kbit AAC versions, to keep. I was able to convert my entire old 192kbit mp3 ripped cd library into into 256kbit AAC's. Does Google Music do something like this?
        tk_77
  • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

    It's impressive artists can sell their tracks directly to customers. The artist page even lets you upload your own music files.
    bradavon
  • Extended Beta?

    "Google Music is no longer available only in beta mode to a limited pool of test group users. Now the digital streaming service is opening to the public."

    Only in the USA. No international roll-out.

    It sounds like a good deal for musicians and music lovers (especially for Indies). That said, the last CD I bought was back in 2005 and I haven't downloaded or streamed any music, so not that appealing to me.
    wright_is
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @wright_is Well if you dont care about music then its the same thing.
      Jimster480
  • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

    iTunes Match is only available in the U.S. initially as well. I have no doubt both will roll out internationally as legalities are... $quared away.
    Playdrv4me
  • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

    Since discovering subscription services with offline modes (in my case, Napster) I question why I want to bother with this type of thing, and others like it. I _want_ to use google music, but can't come up with a good reason.

    On Napster and similar services, for $10/month I can listen to almost anything I want, with transparent offline mode of up to 100 of my most recent listens, or explicit offline saves on my device, 3 devices per account.
    With google music I have to pay 99c to listen and all the bother of maintaining a collection. You are restricted to downloading each purchase 2 times. There's no real offline mode. Of course offline mode will become less relevant over time.

    I'd rather just buy CDs of my favorite classic albums and stream the rest. Totally got sick of maintaining the mp3 collections.
    deathjazz
    • RE: Google Music opens to public for free; 200M Android devices sold

      @willyampz <br><br>Thats weird, on my android phone I just click "make available offline" on an album or song, and it downloads it to my phone for offline use. It pulls all the music from the same folder where I store my music that I have ripped purchased from other services. I don't see where the problem is other than a 20k song limit (I have about 60k, but most people do not have enought to reach the limit).
      mrefuman