Google to Launch Music Beta Today Without Record Label Support


Google I/O 2011 marks the one year anniversary of the first time we were teased with Google Music, a service that will finally be unveiled later today. When it launches as an invite-only cloud-stored music streaming platform it will be dubbed Music Beta, and for good reason. Google is forging ahead with the announcement despite lack of cooperation with record labels. The tech giant apparently was unable to ink any deals with the music industry, a set back that stalled the launch of their music service month after month.

With the launch of Amazon’s Cloud Player and the threat of a cloud-based iTunes right around the corner, Google’s hand was forced. The company had to either delay Music even further and risk losing any chance to compete or take a page from Amazon’s book and bring their service out ahead of any deals with the big music houses.

The Music Beta service will allow users to upload 20,000 songs for streaming to their Android devices or a web-player built for Chrome. The storage space is measured per song rather than per gigabyte, and easily outpaces what Amazon is offering at the free level. The service is launching as invitation-only, with I/O attendees and owners of the Verizon Motorola XOOM getting first dibs.

But Google’s Music lacks one key feature that iTunes and Amazon share: the ability to purchase new songs. Google also lacks a supplemental library of tracks already stored in the cloud, meaning users must upload each and every song via a desktop application. To make things easier, Music Beta will use Google technology to attempt to determine what you will listen to the most and upload those songs first. The uploader can also automatically upload any new tracks added to your library.

We’ve been excited about Music for a while, but hearing that it will be launching as some half-baked version of what we saw at Google I/O last year takes the wind out of the sails a bit. Sure, this service will be great for all Android users and will get a ton of use, but if Google really wants to compete at the market level of iTunes they better hope that the non-licensed launch of Music spurs record labels into make deals quick, rather than the opposite. A backlash from labels against Google is the last thing the fledgling cloud platform needs.

[via CNET]

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  1. Sounds pretty terrible, to be honest. So you can listen to your own music via the cloud? I’m not sure how they intend to compete with things like Spotify, and – given the lack of industry deals – why they’d even want to. What are they getting from this?

    1. Totally agree. I use spotify every day so why do I want to switch to this?

      1. I wish we had Spotify here in the US. This google music is worthless to me. I will stick with Napster for streaming any song at any time. I keep waiting for the Spotify US launch.

        1. Dont have spotify in US? hmm to bad. Its the best thing that have happend in music services. You can try Wimp maybe? Its the same as Spotify. The site is in norwegian. http://www.wimp.no

        2. Have you tried Rdio?

          1. Yes but the music selection is not that great. I have been using Napster which allows you to save any streaming song for offline listening.

    2. Wasn’t Google looking for a deal with Spotify? Using them to power their music service would certainly prevent having to compete with them.

  2. the most i put my songs there, the moment i got sued. no thanks.

    1. What are you trying to say?

      1. they’re saying that Google doesn’t care whatsoever about the privacy of your data until the press start screaming about it, your library details could be passed to a record label and as a result you could be sued for illegally downloading music (for instance, if the labels start planting mp3 files with specific metadata)

    2. You don’t get sued. Google gets sued.

      The RIAA’s motive to sue is for profit. Their shakedown of individuals is not to sue, but to extract a settlement via extortion. Google has much deeper pockets than you do.

    3. It will make more sense once you learn English. Keep at it.

  3. Music in the cloud is a good idea but in reality it doesn’t work that well. These are all service that we won’t be able to use in Canada because of our bandwidth limits. With a 500Mb per month plan, how am I supposed to listen to music from the cloud?!

    1. If there is a offline mode (like Rdio) then that wont be an issue.

    2. geez 500mb? what can you do with that? sorry but that must suck :(

    3. Very good point steve, unless you sacrifice coverage area for one of the smaller unlimited companies like wind or mobilicity, and even then you get throttled after 5gbs

    4. Get wifi?

  4. Hrm…I think I’m the only one who doesn’t give much of a shit about Google Music =(

    Oh well, guess every i/o won’t be as awesome as past ones

  5. Well.. i was looking forward to the Ice Cream announcement more anyway..

  6. I’m pumped for this!. Napster doesn’t work as their selection is TERRIBLE. I can’t use Spotify, not even sure what it does. Pandora must have a 3rd grader design the
    algorithm that picks the music you “like”. Actually the only service that I like today is Grooveshark. But now I can finally share my playlists on the cloud and play them from anywhere! I only wish that I could put all my songs online, 20000 isn’t going to cut it.

    1. Most likely you will be able to do more than that for a small price. The 20,000 is how many you can do for free.

  7. Stupid labels. Standing in the way of progressing their own businesses.

  8. This is the best news I’ve heard all week. Oh darn I can’t buy some DRM track and have it only accessible on 1 computer or some other garbage. This is the anti-Itunes and I love it!

    How could this possibly be a bad thing, do people actually like renting their music from Itunes?

    Listen to your music where you want when you want. Though if it were me I’d probably just put my music on my device, but whatever!

    1. My thoughts exactly!

    2. All music stores allow mp3, non-drm file downloads now. So, I am not sure what you are talking about.

      I wish Google would simply release a Muisc app with third party store plugins. For example, Amazon, eMusic, Bandcamp, etc. Why must Google enter the music sales business? They could instead offer a Music app that allows access to these 3rd party stores … instead of having a separate music app for each music service. That would make them ten times better than iTunes or Amazon … allowing the user to choose which store they want to download from.

  9. This is all I need really. Upload songs to 1 database and then have it everywhere. I don’t it to stream to my phone, just automatically download the files when on a wifi connection, so that I have it offline. But more importantly…I want to go to the university library/computer room plug in my headphones and hear MY playlist trough some google website or chrome extension.

    Nothing more, nothing less.

  10. hi, i am supporting giigle cloud music player…!!! you…???


  11. Bottom line i agree with the move forward anyway concept you can’t have people preventing your progress. Anything they do with this gives us android faithful more of a choice.

    1. Damn, I have to agree with you Richard and that hurts me to say it. :)

      1. It’s about time..

  12. I want to BUY music. (period)

    I would love Andy Rubin to call music execs out by name during the I/O announcement.

  13. Down the road, sooner than most think, when one price for unlimited bandwidth goes away cloud services will not be a viable option. And when the cloud goes down, well, the ya got nothin ..Amazons cloud service, as well as others, I have tried some, are slow. we have come full circle, back in the early days when the mainframe held all the info and you had a dumb terminal to access it. But if thats twhat people like for now, I guess it’s good to have the option, for those who do not have storage space

    1. And when we go to the clouds for everything and all is stored and powered in the sky, all you will want is that terminal to be dumb It will just be an access piece to the internet.Unlimited will change but it will be for the better in the long haul. Data will eventually be cheap, think text message plans and minutes usage…

      1. I dont think it will be cheap, think supply and demand, carriers will lose money on everything else but data charges, they will become just a pipeline and will not be likely to give up on that revenue stream…

  14. I guess the music execs like getting it from uncle Steve so much that they can’t see a competition between Apple and Google is good for them.

  15. Well, now all phones are required to receive texts and alerts from the US government, how will this play out as far as people getting billed for something they do not want?

  16. Oh and another thing, why does Google go all half cocked and not get things hammered out ahead of time, to make things smooth?

  17. Well, its a start! Oh and I have a xoom so I will be looking for the invite……xoom purchase seems to be getting better everyday and I can finally move my music off of iTunes! Win!

  18. don’t really listen to much music anymore but this service has enough for me to start using it as soon as its available to me

  19. I hope in addition to streaming you will be able to download your files aswell, making it a perfect way to keep music on all your devices.

  20. hollywood reported says you can download to android devices- you only HAVE to stream on other OS’s. Also says sony and universal where the ones that stopped the train.

  21. If Google was smart, they would release their streaming Music app with the ability to add 3rd party store plugins. Let the other companies have the music sales market … and give them the ability to plugin to Google Music app. How cool would it be to be able to use one Music app, but download from multiple music services within it… Amazon, eMusic, etc. This is what users really want … not a separate music app for each store.

    1. Sounds like something a good developer should get on right away and release to the market. :) Right now, I could put part of my music library on Amazon’s free space (I got the 20 gig bonus) and the other part on the Google Music space thereby giving me access to even more of my whole library. I’m not even sure how much. I honestly don’t know how big my library is. It’s divided up on two different hard drives. lol Plus I can do my purchases through Amazon, so I’m good.

  22. OH I have a feeling the RIAA isnt going to take that lying down.

  23. Hi all,
    I read phandroid every morning, but this is my first time commenting. Just downloaded the updated music app, looks fantastic, BUT has one major drawback, which plagued the previous version of ‘Music’. And it is this: Music keeps your phone awake, even while the screen is off. I listen to music all the time from my phone, and all day at work, and without charging, would barely make it into the evening with much battery left. So I did some tests with the new battery use feature of gingerbread (on a nexus one), and found that Music was draining my battery big time. It kind of makes sense though, that playing Music would keep your phone awake, but then I found a forum post at xda (see: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=13508836#post13508836)
    where someone reported that Poweramp allows your phone to sleep WHILST playing music! So I downloaded it and tested it out, and the person was 100% correct! I now last to the end of the day and long into the night without having to charge at all.
    I am in no way associated with PowerAmp but I want to share my experience. Try it out for yourself. Android is amazing!

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