What to expect from Google Music

November 16, 2011

Last week, Google promised an announcement scheduled for Wednesday would “go to 11.” Many took this reference to the movie “Spinal Tap” to be a hint that the company is looking to amp up its Music service.

Google Music has been in its beta form for months, providing users a place to upload their music and access it from their computers and mobile Android devices.

It’s not clear exactly what Google will be announcing at its 5 p.m. EST livestreaming news conference on YouTube, but there’s plenty of speculation to whet your appetite.

Essentially, it sounds like Google will be adding a music-download store to its current online locker. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that Sony, Universal and EMI have all agreed to sign on to Google’s music service, but that Warner Music has yet to give its official approval. That would leave out several artists ranging from Michael Bublé to Wiz Khalifa.

The report, citing a “person with knowledge of situation” also indicated that songs will cost between 99 cents and $1.29.

How will the service compare to Apple’s recently launched iTunes Match? According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, Google’s deals with record labels still won’t let users bypass the uploading step. With iTunes Match, users can have Apple scan their music libraries and offer up iTunes store versions immediately, sometimes at a higher quality.

Where Google may distinguish its service, Gizmodo speculates, is with allowing users to share their music through its Google+ social network. Using the platform to choose when to share music could put the company ahead of Apple and Facebook, which tried a similar idea with its Spotify integration but ended up spamming users by providing friends with updates about every song a user consumed.

Related stories:

Apple releases iTunes Match

Spotify releases ‘private listening’ feature

Google music: Not the service Google hoped to launch

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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