We were curious about how Google Music might compare to iTunes, Amazon, and Rhapsody, and our friend Eddie Ringle was kind enough to give us his observations. Take it away, Eddie!
Last May at Google I/O, Google Music Beta was announced as a service that enabled you to upload music to the Google cloud and stream it to any device at any location. Today, Google has pulled Music out of beta, adding lots of new goodies to complement it.
First and foremost, Google is joining the ranks of Apple and Amazon, offering thousands of songs for sale. Google has partnered with Universal, Sony, EMI, and Merlin, as well as over 1,000 other independent music labels and distributors to provide Google Music users with a huge selection.
In addition to the major labels, Google announced “Artist Hub,” a way for independent artists to distribute and sell their music on the Google Music store and connect with their followers. Artists can create and maintain an artist page where they post and organize songs and albums for sale.
When you purchase a song on Google Music, it is added instantly to your library in the cloud, enabling you to stream it from anywhere for free.
Google Music now also features Google+ integration. You can share whatever it is you’re listening to with your followers, even giving them the opportunity to listen to the full song once for free.
So, how will Google Music’s new offerings stand up against the competition? Players such as Apple and Rhapsody have been in the game for a long time, and Amazon also poses a threat with its eerily-similar Cloud Player.
Apple just recently announced iTunes Match to cooperate with its iCloud service. Match works by enabling the downloading of a song you import to iCloud from any iCloud-enabled device. It is important to note that you technically are never streaming your music using Match. Rather, you are playing it while it downloads to your device. Additionally, Match will cost you $25 a year.
Rhapsody has a unique approach compared to the other major competitors. For a monthly subscription, you can stream any song from its vast library of music on your computer and on your mobile device. You can also choose to purchase individual MP3s from Rhapsody if you so desire.
Amazon’s music service is probably the one most akin to Google’s. You purchase a song on Amazon.com and it then is added to your Amazon Cloud Drive. From there you can stream the song for free or download it to your device or computer using the Amazon Cloud Player. Amazon also offers mobile integration by syncing your mobile music library with your library in the cloud, much like what Google Music does.
Who will come out on top? Google is on the right track, but it needs to continue to push ahead if it is to gain any serious market share — especially with Android’s dominance in the mobile market (however, that might not be such a hard task to accomplish).