Google today unveiled its long-awaited music store at an even in Los Angeles today. Google Music is now available to all users in the U.S. without a need to get an invite. According to Google, millions of songs will now be available for purchase in the Android Market. Users will also be able to upload up to 20,000 songs to Google Music and store them in the cloud for free. Partners include EMI, Universal and Sony, as well as numerous smaller labels. In total, the store currently feature 8 million tracks but will soon have about 13 million in its library as Google adds more tracks.
Google launched a limited beta of its music services at its annual developer conference Google IO earlier this year. There was no music-matching, similar to what Apple is doing with iTunes Match, though, and no music store, as Google wasn’t able to secure licenses from the major music industry players. Because of this, users had to upload their own songs to the service, which could often take hours or days for large music libraries.
At Google IO, the company’s executives stressed that they had really wanted to open the service with support from the music industry, Google found their demands “unreasonable and unsustainable.” Clearly, the relationship between Google and the labels has changed now.
Indeed, Google managed to get a number of exclusives from the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Ryhmes and others.
As Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s director of digital content for Android noted during the event, consumers now expect that their music services are connected to the cloud and available on all devices instantly.
On Google Music, all songs will be encoded at 320kbps. Users can buy songs from their Android devices and from the web. The music store required Android 2.2 or higher. The new versions of the Google Music app will be available in the next few days.
T-Mobile users will get carrier billing for music purchases in the near future.
Google is also putting a strong emphasis on sharing songs. Users can tell their friends that they have bought a song on Google+, but more importantly, your friends will also get one free stream of the song or album as well.
An Artist Hub for Independent Musicians
Google is also working with independent musicians and will make it easier for them to set up their own shops on Google Music. They will be able to create an artist page for a one-time $25 fee, upload their own songs and set their own prices.