The rumor is growing fast. Now the New York Post has it that Google could launch its search-related music store as early as this holiday season, i.e. November-December.
The newspaper reports that Android VP at Google, Andy Rubin, is having "accelerated" talks with music publishing firm Harry Fox Agency to secure rights to as many titles as possible among the publishers' 27 000 songs. Apparently, talks have now reached the stage where both companies are not only discussing prices and rights availability but also business models. Rubin being involved, it's a given that the service will be available on Android.
The New York Post could not reach Harry Fox Agency and Google did not comment on their upcoming service.
Music + Search Tied In
As we reported back in June Google's plan is to integrate its new music service with its search activities. The move will imply regrouping inhouse the company's streaming music offer which is currently provided by third-party players Pandora and iLike. A Wall Street Journal report said the music download store will be a first step towards a cloud-based subscription service. The service would provide direct mobile streaming from the web, freeing users from the hassle of having to physically store music on their devices. To access the offer, subscribers would have to use Android-supported phones.
Google + Music = Musgle (So Far)
An independent company called Musgle is already delivering on the idea of music search tied in with Google's engine. This is what it says about itself: "Although Musgle is not affiliated with Google, ALL its strength comes from it :) When searching for any kind of music (mp3, wma, wav, etc), Musgle calls Google for help by submitting a special search query to it, which is based on Advanced Google Search Operators. After Google does its hard work, it returns results with direct links to mp3, wma, wav, etc.. music files that can be downloaded directly with no hassle!" Evidently, Musgle is not offering downloads per se but the search idea is there.
Competition And Competition, Again
It's not clear at this point whether Google would seek to mesh together all entertainment verticals (such as movies, TV, games, etc) into its SERP or if the move is solely intended for music. Rival Bing now has its one-stop entertainment hub, and Bing Entertainment is integrated into search - it allows users to conduct layered, deep contextualized queries. Beyond the Google/Bing competition, the stakes at play (no pun intended) involve the music industry as a whole, as it seems Apple has been eating a much too big slice of it. The DOJ is inquiring about the potential effect of iTunes' market dominance on pricing.