Google is mixing up some music and serving it from the cloud and massifying it through social networking features to create its long anticipated music service. The Music service would thus include an a la carte digital download store, a subscription cloud locker ($25 to the consumer per year) through which listeners would stream or download their music. Google is also working on providing each customer the ability to listen to a full track song for the first time after which subsequent samplings of the same song will be 30 second bits. This is reminiscent of the Lalal.com music service. The cloud locker would also enable social networking features, such as allowing users to send playlists to friends in their networks and also enabling the friends to sample the songs once in its entirety. Google would make available a web-based music player and a mobile application for playback of tracks from the cloud-based locker.
Google is seeking an initial three-year licensing agreement from the labels for each territory it launches its music service. The details of the launches have come to the fore yet.There are questions that remain unresolved, such as how much storage capacity the locker would provide and whether the labels would grant Google the ability to provide a free full-track stream for the duration of the initial three-year agreement and exactly how labels and publishers would be compensated for their music.
Google’s cloud-based locker would scan a subscriber’s hard drive for music files. Any tracks that Google recognizes as music that it has licensed would be listed by Google as being accessible to the user from their cloud-based account. Such tracks could include those purchased at the Google download store or another download retailer, tracks ripped from a CD and even music files downloaded from peer-to-peer networks.
Inclusion of P2P tracks may get some pushback from label executives. However, in order for this concept to work, Google will need to allow P2P tracks to populate lockers. On the contrary, the labels would probably press Google to take stronger measures to fight music piracy, such as excluding P2P sites from search results or blocking the use of apps for Google’s Android mobile operating system that facilitate P2P access.
It is expected that Google music would sell at the conventional wholesale rate of $7 for a digital album and 70 cents for most tracks, 91 cents for superstar tracks and 49 cents for catalog tracks. A 70 cent wholesale download usually retails for 99 cents, while a $7 wholesale digital album typically carries a retail price of $10