Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

Summary: Google couldn't leave well enough alone and had to jump into the music store business to accompany the music player.

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TOPICS: Google
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I should have been excited when I heard about Google's entry into the music-selling business last week. I've been a user - and a fan - of Google's Music Cloud Beta since its early release and, as an Android guy, I've been even happier with the mobile app's potential to be an iPod replacement. Now with a music store, the offering is complete - a real legitimate serving that can finally go head-to-head with Apple's iTunes, right?

Wrong.

Truth be told, I didn't get excited about Google's Music Store announcement because I just didn't think that Google needed a music store. I get my online music from a number of different sources already: iTunes, Amazon, my own CD collection and even some tracks that I'd stored on an external drive. And they mostly all playback seamlessly in Google Cloud Music (there are a few restrictions.)

The last thing I really need is another online music store - especially one with limited offerings because it couldn't cut deals with all of the major Hollywood record labels by launch.

Now, I understand why Google has gone both-feet-forward with this Google Music undertaking. The iPod music player is being replaced by the iPhone - and Google wants Android to pick up as much of the iPod replacement market as possible. Services like Spotify and Pandora are disrupting the traditional models not only by offering streaming services but also through their integration with social networks. And, of course, digital music fits nicely next to e-books, mobile apps and movie rentals in the larger Android Marketplace.

Isn't Google a search and advertising company? Hasn't the company already spread itself a little thin - and experienced a few flops - by putting its claws into parts of the business that it really had no business of being in in the first place? (Buzz, anyone?) Did it really need a music store - or couldn't it have been content just being the best music player, with the best cloud offerings, on the Internet.

For now, Google Music Cloud is my music service of choice while I listen to tunes at my desk or on-the-go. My first impressions - which are largely in sync with many of Stephen Vaughn-Nichols' observations - was that Google really has a grasp on how a cloud-based music service should look. Everything from measuring cloud storage by number of songs, instead of gigabytes, to wireless syncing of libraries and playlists of other music services shows that Google "gets" cloud in a way that Apple still doesn't. Sure, the look is still a bit dry and there are a few organization tweaks I would make - but Google Cloud Music I was exactly a fan of the iTunes Match and iCloud models and certainly am not big on paying fees, even if it's only $25 per year.

Google wasn't happy just being the maker of the record player. It wanted to be the record store, too. While I don't think that a decision to cut deals with the labels to sell music was necessarily the best one for the goals and objectives of the company, I don't think it will hurt, either. It just feel like a lot of effort for a "me too" that will likely struggle for some time to gain any ground on a company like Apple, which has been at this much much longer.

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26 comments
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  • Seems a bit like M$, Sam!

    Google is without a doubt trying to control the smartphone, content, and, of course, search markets. As such, Google certainly is trying to be M$ all over again and they will have their day in court.
    jjworleyeoe
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @jjworleyeoe <br>Big simply doesn't mean a company is anti-competitive. <br>M$ was in court for anti-competitiveness. <br>Hence blocking competition from entry into (PC) market. <br>Is Google doing the same thing? Anti-competitiveness?<br><br>PS. Google was just on Capitol Hill to explain to them that Google is just a click away. They were shock to find this revelation. No anti-competitiveness.<br> <a href="http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-faces-antitrust-grilling-in-congress-2011-09-21" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-faces-antitrust-grilling-in-congress-2011-09-21</a>
      Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @jjworleyeoe

      Is now the time to put on my tin foil hat?
      jonandkelly
    • From hat pulled rabbit?

      @jjworleyeoe
      Not sure where you pulled that from.
      Personally I think it is a good idea.
      iTunes does not work for Android so I use Amazon - really like it! Now with the addition of Google, I have more choices - always a good thing.
      rhonin
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    Putting my music purchases and listening into Google's clutches is just one more piece of data for them. Are you on a country music kick? Listening to rap music etc? Who might get this data and start serving you more ads or linking this information to your google + account etc? I'd rather pay the $25 and get a very intriguing way to upgrade all my music to cd quality loseless format and get backups in the cloud and streaming with the biggest music store/selection, than to once again get a halfway there free solution that gives up a lot of personal information.
    teetee1970
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @teetee1970 Exactly, its free. Don't like it, don't use it. You can pay for something with no ads. It's called choice. Ads can be contextual and relevant. Maybe somepeople do want to know about those concert tickets that are available for that band they are listening to.
      topgun22
    • What do you think Apple does?

      @teetee1970

      Get real!
      as topgun put it [i]Exactly, its free. Don't like it, don't use it. You can pay for something with no ads. It's called choice. Ads can be contextual and relevant. Maybe somepeople do want to know about those concert tickets that are available for that band they are listening to. [/i]

      So in iTunes it is linked to Ping and Apple - Google is linked to Google.

      Same game; different players.
      rhonin
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    All I heard before was critics saying they can't buy music, the offer optionally purchases and now that's something bad to complain about?
    kingcobra23
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @kingcobra23 You're totally right.
      anto31
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    So, you were using Google's free service for storing and playing your music, but giving your money to Amazon and Apple to buy your music.

    And you think Google should have just left it at that?

    They are trying to make money you know.
    ZedTom
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @ZedTom couldn'T agree more. Among google's products, a music store seems no worse than selling books in the marketplace, and for heaven's sake, they have to monetize their products any way they can. I commend google for not allowing its music store to interfere with the music application experience. Maybe google will even motivate labels to embrace streaming.
      urbandk
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    So - let me get this straight - just because YOU don't need it, Google have no right to do it? It's OK for Apple and Amazon etc., but it's somehow wrong for Google?

    I've read some weird blogs here, but this one just about tops them all.
    Heenan73
    • The motto here is:

      @Heenan73

      Never let reality biting you in the ass stop you from publishing something.

      :D
      rhonin
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @Heenan73 EXACTLY!!!
      donmars
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    My only complaint with Google Music Player: No EQ :(
    gtatransam@...
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    I don't agree at all, a music store was the last piece of the puzzle to complete the Android ecosytem. Now you can get apps, games, books, movie and now music. <br><br>Why on Earth would you not want to round off your store front. <br><br>Makes no sense
    jonandkelly
    • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

      @jonandkelly - absolutely. Not sure people have absorbed that they can buy movies via youtube, stream them, etc. Sam should really expand the scope on this blog, and direct his comments to the overall Google business plan in this area - you can't comment on the music store outside of that context.
      daboochmeister
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    also what the author fails to recoginize of why it would make sense for Google to enter the digital music business, beyond selling music for the Android Market, is the fact they own YouTube. Since MTV's departure from playing video's YouTube is now THE go to place for artist to air their videos and their new songs.<br><br>How does this not make sense.
    jonandkelly
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    Sam wrote: "Truth be told, I didn???t get excited . . . "

    If . . . the . . . truth . . . be . . . told . . . thank you!
    mwidunn
  • RE: Google Music: It should be the record player, not the record store

    "Sure, the look is still a bit dry and there are a few organization tweaks I would make - but Google Cloud Music I was exactly a fan of the iTunes Match and iCloud models and certainly am not big on paying fees, even if it???s only $25 per year."

    My head hurts from trying to read that.
    aep528