Just two days ago, Google Music officially came out of beta. I had personally been using Google Music since I got my invitation a few months ago. The idea of being able to store all of my music online in “the cloud” and be able to access it from any computer or android device was attractive to me. No longer did I have to sync my iPod with my computer the night before and no more burning CDs. With a 20,000 song limit, Google Music was the music hub I had been looking for.
With Wednesday’s public launch, Google also introduced their Google Music Store. Obviously a direct competitor to iTunes, Google Music seems to have a few advantages to dominate the competition. Here are a few of the details:
- Songs will be available through the Android Market. The entire service will also be on the Web at music.google.com. Unlike iTunes, you do not have to install software on your computer to access.
- Users can share songs via Google+. Any purchased song can be shared with an unlimited number of connections via Google+. All shared songs can be played at least once for free, and indie artists can also grant additional free plays. (Note: sharing doesn’t work with songs uploaded from your personal collection.)
- All purchases are stored in the cloud. As previously noted, all songs are stored in the Google Music database, where users can also upload up to 20,000 tracks from their own collection. (This feature has been available since May as part of the Google Music beta.) Then, users can stream these purchases to up to 10 devices.
- Redownloading is now supported. Before, once songs were up in the cloud, users could only stream them to devices. Now, they can redownload them — nice in case of hard drive crashes, for instance.
- Warner is not included. EMI, Sony, and Universal — three of the big four labels — are included. There are also a lot of indies including Merlin (an aggregator representing thousands of labels around the world) and Beggars’ Banquet.
- Self-released artists can upload their own music. Artists can pay a $25 one-time fee to submit their music to the store through the Artist Hub. There, they can create an artist page, upload content to sell, and set pricing. Google takes a 30% cut of each sale, just like iTunes, but there’s no recurring fee.
- T-Mobile customers can pay for songs on their phone bills. This kind of carrier billing makes perfect sense for a SUBSCRIPTION service, but is kind of a strange feature here. But it will let customers with no credit cards buy music.
The idea that independent artists can upload their own music is incredible. Previously, the only services (that I know of) that enabled artists to sell their own music online were TuneCore, CDBaby and Bandcamp. If Google Music catches on and becomes the next iTunes as the go-to place for buying music, independent artists will have complete control over selling there music and will not have to rely on third parties who take an additional percentage of their sales.
Visit Google Music for Artists to start selling your music now.