Google has scheduled a Los Angeles press conference for tomorrow. It's been speculated that the conference will announce the launch of the Google Music Store. Early screenshots of what is allegedly the Music Store app have also been leaked.
Google Taking on Apple in Music
It seems that Google is ready to proceed with the launch of their MP3 store. While details are scarce, we know that Google would function much like iTunes, selling songs and albums for digital download.
However, Google has yet to secure licensing deals with all the major labels, sources say. While Universal Music Group has reportedly reached an agreement with Google and EMI may have done likewise, neither Sony nor Warner (the other two major labels) have given any indication of a licensing agreement.
Apple has had few real competitors in the music industry, although Amazon has successfully got its foothold in the market. However, Google has the reach, social capabilities, and hardware – via Motorola and the Android OS – to be the first true iTunes competitor. With Apple launching iCloud and competing with Android via iOS, this represents one more arena where Google and Apple will be fighting for territory.
The Music Store App
The Verge released images that are allegedly screenshots for the Google Music app for Android phones. These images give a strong indication of the basic look and functionality of the store.
If the images are to be trusted, Google will be selling tracks for the standard price ranging between about $0.79 to $1.29. Google will also continue to give away its "free song of the day" through the app.
The Long-Awaited Music Store
We've known for some time that Google has been working on licensing deals with labels that would allow Google to become an MP3 reseller.
Additional "music locker" functionality has been rumored; the "music locker" would match user-uploaded songs with existing high-quality tracks provided by the labels. When a song matches, Google would automatically play back the higher-quality version of the song, saving both its server space and the ears of audiophiles. It's likely we'll hear more about the inclusion of these features (or lack thereof) at tomorrow's conference.
How many of you would switch to Google's cloud-based music program en lieu of iTunes? What will prompt you to make the shift or ignore the service's launch?