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Google launches new music service

Google Music might give iTunes and Amazon a run for their money

The Battalion

Published: Monday, December 5, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 23:07


It seems that with every passing month, Google tacks yet another name onto its already impressive long list of services. You guys and gals might remember a little social network called Google+ that unfortunately never really caught on, largely thanks to an abysmal marketing and promotional strategy. Keeping with its long-standing tradition of chipping away at nearly impenetrable markets, Google recently announced the official launch of its free, cloud-based music service — Google Music.

With Google Music, Google once again bravely explores uncharted territory for the company. However, I wonder if it's really such a good idea to show off that new cannonball technique in shark infested waters.

Established services like Apple's iTunes and Amazon MP3 (both of which I'm sure you've never heard of) control a staggering sales percentage in the music download industry, ensuring that Google Music is in for quite a fight. Launched way back in 2003 (the glorious year of such pop culture masterpieces like "Stacy's Mom" and "Get Low"), iTunes recently celebrated the achievement of reaching 16 billion (that's right, BILLION) downloads. Focusing more on providing lower prices and supporting DRM (digital rights management) free music, Amazon MP3 has had less commercial success, but still maintains an impressive catalog and devout following.

The main appeal of Google Music, however, is the ability for users to store and seamlessly stream entire catalogs (of up to 20,000 songs) from any device that is connected to the cloud.

Although Apple and Amazon have both been quickly developing their own cloud services, Google Music offers a hassle free cloud system that can be accessed from any of your computers or mobile devices. After uploading a catalog to the cloud (which I predict might take just a little bit of time), the user simply clicks the play button on the Google Music website. If you are among the dwindling few who still consistently purchase their music (I applaud you), you can purchase songs from Google Music's catalog by downloading or visiting the Android market.

In addition to the cloud, Google Music also seeks to create a hipster haven on its own social network, Google+, by enabling users to form "circles" where music lovers can share their favorite tunes with each other. I can almost hear the band Animal Collective now (you've probably never heard of them).

Other streaming services like Spotify and Pandorahave also found great success with this strategy of linking user recommendations to social networks. Since its inception, Google+ has been desperately searching for its niche. It just might find it in music lovers. This tactic could very well be the key to the success of Google+ because more likely than not, you have noticed your friends using the Spotify and Pandora music services on your Facebook newsfeed. No? You will eventually. You'll soon also notice Google Music.

Google+ definitely has name recognition, but now people simply need a reason to use it. Google Music will provide an incentive by allowing you and your friends to preview and discuss your favorite tracks. By tying Google Music and Google+ together, Google may actually be able to develop both of these services into successful ventures.

Google Music is a bold and ambitious venture into the unknown by a company known for achieving victory in even the most challenging of situations. Entering into in an already competitive industry with services as powerful as iTunes and Amazon MP3 is a daunting task. Despite being fashionably late to the party, Google Music just might make a grand entrance.

Steve Wells is a senior marketing major at Texas A&M University's Mays Business School. In addition to being a student, he is also a local musician and promoter.

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