Google opens Android music store to challenge Apple iTunes

Posted on: November 17, 2011

Google senior product manager Michael Siliski introduces the company’s digital music store. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP

Google and Apple have stepped up their corporate battle with the launch this week of music services for their smartphone platforms.

Android handset users in the US will now be able to get access to Google Music, where the search engine company has signed up the main music labels except, so far, Warner Music.

The service is not available outside the US because Google has not completed negotiations with record labels to allow it to sell songs elsewhere.

The Google Music offering comes with exclusive content from the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, Shakira, Pearl Jam and the Dave Matthews Band.

Songs are available in MP3 format encoded at 320Kbps. Song prices range from 69c to 99c and $1.29, the same as on Apple’s iTunes.

The absence of Warner Music means Google Music will lack some famous names such as Led Zeppelin and Prince which are available on rival stores such as Apple’s iTunes.

“They’ve got to get that [music] catalog filled pretty quickly,” said Mike McGuire, an analyst at industry research firm Gartner. “It’s a launch, but it’s kind of like a work-in-progress.”

Analysts say selling online music is unlikely to provide much of a lift to Google’s revenue. But they say Google needs to be in the market to ensure that its Android-based mobile efforts can match offerings from competitors.

Android is the world’s No. 1 smartphone operating system, powering about 200m devices worldwide. But without a music service, Android-based smartphones and tablets may not be as attractive to consumers seeking a product that offers a seamless media experience.

The service costs $25 per year, leading Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s director of digital content for Android, to take a dig at it: “Other cloud music services think you have to pay to listen to music you already own. We don’t,” he said.

via Google opens Android music store to challenge Apple iTunes guardian


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