Google Music goes live in US with Android store

17/11/2011

Google Music has gone live in the US, featuring a free music storage cloud service, app, Web player, free social music sharing on Google+ and store on the Android marketplace. Initially launcing as a beta in the US earlier this year, the new version launches today and will roll out to Android devices in the US over the next few days. The firm did not discuss any plans to offer Google Music outside the US. Users will be able to share songs with their Google+ Circles contacts who can listen to the full length of the tracks one time without making a purchase.

17/11/2011

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Google Music users can upload up to 20,000 songs to the cloud and stream for free, and purchased content doesn't count against that 20,000 limit. All songs will be high-quality 320Kbps MP3s.

Google has secured deals with three out of the Big Four record labels: Sony Music Entertainmant, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, and EMI Music. Warner Music Group is the odd major label out. In addition 23 independent record labels have also partnered with Google, including Merge, cdbaby, INgrooves, and many more.

Google also announced a partnership with T-Mobile in the U.S. T-Mobile will have exclusive content to its customers through Google Music from Drake, Busta Rhymes, Maroon 5 and more artists to be announced.

The service poses a challenge to Apple's dominance of the sector, whose iTunes store dominates the music download market.

Free social music streaming

Google is also integrating its new service with its Google+ social network. Users will be able to share songs with their Circles contacts who can listen to the full length of the tracks one time without making a purchase.

Songs range in price from 69 cents (44p) to $1.29 and come without DRM copy-protection. The search giant is also offering a different track free for download every day.

Google is also hoping to link with smaller artists through its new Artist Hub. Musicians can add their own page for a $25 fee and set their own prices. Google will take a 30% share of each sale.

View an official video explaining the Google Music service here:

View the official blog post here

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