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Google Still Hammering Out Music Streaming Service

By - Source: Wall Street Journal | B 11 comments

Google is still trying to launch a music subscription service.

Google is reportedly still pursuing a music streaming service despite several setbacks it has seen over the last few years. A subscription service was one of the original plans Google had in mind when developing Google Music, but that aspect fell short as negotiations with record labels fell flat. As it stands now, Google Play offers music to purchase while Google Music, a virtual music locker launched in 2011, stores and streams purchases and uploads.

Google's streaming subscription attempts have resurfaced in a new report provided by the Wall Street Journal. The company's "Android unit" is reportedly negotiating with music labels to offer a subscription-based Spotify rival. The YouTube division is conducting similar negotiations to provide a subscription service offering music videos and perhaps audio-only streaming as well.

Based on the provided information, Google's music subscription service may be offered in a three-tier format: a free-yet-limited web-only ad-supported Basic offering, unlimited music for $10/m, and unlimited music + video for $15/m. So far it's unknown how the video portion will effect Vevo which allows YouTube viewers to watch music videos from most of the record labels.

Like Google, Apple has seen its share of roadblocks when dealing with streaming music from record labels. The same sources that talked about Google's attempts claim that Apple is still looking to license music for a custom-radio service similar to Pandora. That said, Google may want something similar with its free music streaming service that's received by Android-based smartphones and tablets.

Francis Keeling, global head of digital business at Universal Music Group, recently said that a subscription service offered by Google would give the industry a welcomed boost. Indeed, Android is the #1 smartphone platform, taking most of the market share while Apple's iPhone falls in a distant second. Google's scale could turn millions more music listeners into paying subscribers, he said.

"We talk about for subscription services, the need to have a funnel. Google, with its hundreds of millions of users through search, YouTube with its more than 800 million users, arguably is the biggest funnel we could have," Keeling said in London at the launch of the IFPI's annual report. "Clearly if we could get consumers into a legal funnel through that route and encourage them to [subscribe], that would have a very positive impact on the business."

The big roadblock for Google in its pursuit of music streaming negotiations stems from its efforts in curbing music piracy. Labels and anti-piracy groups believe that search engines aren't doing enough to eliminate links that lead to pirated music. The company is facing the same issue with Hollywood and TV networks which has thus far limited Google TV's own offerings.

"Like all search engines, there is a problem; we're asking all search engines to prioritize legal services," Keeling said. "We know that search engines are a primary route for consumers to be able to find music and hope all search engines will implement those changes."

Keeling confirmed that Universal and Google share a "great relationship".

 

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  • 1 Hide
    IAmVortigaunt , February 27, 2013 7:57 PM
    Meanwhile, Zune/XBOX Music already has unlimited streaming, as well as pay per song going.
  • 1 Hide
    thecolorblue , February 27, 2013 9:12 PM
    subscribe to (i.e. pay over and over and never own) music that monitors what you listens to and adds that to the massive database with your name on it...

    OR
    *own DRM free music
    *pay no monthly fee
    *store it locally
    *listen to it with software that doesn't spy on you

    hmm... really... tough... choice... there...
  • 2 Hide
    hiruu , February 27, 2013 11:20 PM
    IAmVortigauntMeanwhile, Zune/XBOX Music already has unlimited streaming, as well as pay per song going.


    Indeed...but the tech media hates to recognize Microsoft for anything, other than bad news.
  • Display all 11 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 27, 2013 11:38 PM
    hiruuIndeed...but the tech media hates to recognize Microsoft for anything, other than bad news.
    Probably more to do with the demise of the Zune player and a perception that the Zune brand is dead. Clients for the Xbox Music service are not available on iOS and Android yet (but they're supposedly being developed). Mobile is where the action is and Win8 hasn't changed that. Windows Phone has insignificant market share. End result - Zune/Xbox Music gets ignored just like the dozen or so other services that have been around for years that didn't get enough market share: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_online_music_databases#On-demand_streaming_music_services
  • 0 Hide
    IAmVortigaunt , February 28, 2013 12:02 AM
    jhansonxiProbably more to do with the demise of the Zune player and a perception that the Zune brand is dead. Clients for the Xbox Music service are not available on iOS and Android yet (but they're supposedly being developed). Mobile is where the action is and Win8 hasn't changed that. Windows Phone has insignificant market share. End result - Zune/Xbox Music gets ignored just like the dozen or so other services that have been around for years that didn't get enough market share: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_ [...] c_services


    Sure...but at least they are working on apps for those platforms. Apple certainly won't make their stuff work well with other platforms, and I wouldn't bet on Google, either.
  • 0 Hide
    jhansonxi , February 28, 2013 1:41 AM
    IAmVortigauntSure...but at least they are working on apps for those platforms. Apple certainly won't make their stuff work well with other platforms, and I wouldn't bet on Google, either.
    Could still happen. Wozniak wishes Apple would produce an iTunes client for Android: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adriankingsleyhughes/2012/10/05/wosniak-so-why-dont-we-port-itunes-to-android/
  • 2 Hide
    wifiwolf , February 28, 2013 5:56 AM
    jhansonxiCould still happen. Wozniak wishes Apple would produce an iTunes client for Android: http://www.forbes.com/sites/adrian [...] o-android/


    If they make it like itunes for windows, I'll keep my distance.
  • 2 Hide
    bertrandsbox , February 28, 2013 8:02 AM
    wifiwolfIf they make it like itunes for windows, I'll keep my distance.


    Agreed. I've never used a poorer piece of software.
    My new laptop handles everything I throw at it with ease, but as soon as I load iTunes up, everything grinds to a halt. Moving throughout it is stuttery and slow, and I can't even maximise the window without everything going haywire and UI elements being half hidden off-screen.

    I really wish Microsoft would have stuck with Zune. It was such a beautiful application, and the direction I'd love to see windows programs move in general.

    Oh well, I guess I'll have to move on to something like MusicBee/Winamp/Foobar2000.
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 28, 2013 10:55 AM
    Quote:
    negotiations with record labels fell flat

    I wonder why?
    ...
    Option 1 - Their payment terms were grossly high
    Option 2 - DRM is rubbish, lables have no confidence in Google's copy protection
    ...
    Considering the terms Apple has on the labels, cost issues are unlikely, my vote is with option 2
  • 0 Hide
    back_by_demand , February 28, 2013 10:58 AM
    jhansonxiProbably more to do with the demise of the Zune player and a perception that the Zune brand is dead. Clients for the Xbox Music service are not available on iOS and Android yet (but they're supposedly being developed). Mobile is where the action is and Win8 hasn't changed that. Windows Phone has insignificant market share. End result - Zune/Xbox Music gets ignored just like the dozen or so other services that have been around for years that didn't get enough market share: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_ [...] c_services

    This ^^^ does not make sense
    ...
    If Google has a much higher market share than Zune/Xbox music, then the labels would be fighting over each other to sign with Google, OK we all agree that the Microsoft service isn't huge, but at least they have a service and labels have signed to it
  • 1 Hide
    benben_41 , March 3, 2013 10:32 AM
    hiruuIndeed...but the tech media hates to recognize Microsoft for anything, other than bad news.


    I'm also sick of the monopoly that google has on the internet. I'm gonna continue to use the site that I think is best for streaming! If you want to try it, you can do so too on music.torchbrowser.com.
    Thanks for this article.
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