Google Music launches, poised to challenge Apple's iTunes dominance
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Google unveiled its much-anticipated digital music store Wednesday, opening a new front in its battle with Apple to provide services over mobile devices.
For the first time, Google Inc. will sell songs on the Android Market, its online store for apps, movies and books. The service is available over the next few days to customers in the U.S., but it aims to roll it out eventually to some 200 million Android users globally.
Some songs are free, while others were priced at 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 — the same prices as on Apple's iTunes. Artists whose work is available right away include Adele, Jay-Z and Pearl Jam. The store will feature dozens of free tracks from artists like Coldplay, Rolling Stones and Busta Rhymes.
Google is offering 13 million tracks for sale, from three of the four major recording companies — Vivendi SA's Universal Music, EMI Group Ltd. and Sony Music Entertainment — and a host of independent labels. Warner Music Group was the major recording company left out. Warner spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.
Google is allowing sharing of purchased songs over its social network, Google Plus. Friends will be able to listen to one another's songs once for free.
Once someone buys a song, it can be downloaded and is automatically uploaded for free into an online locker. The song can then be streamed over computer and mobile phone browsers, including the Safari browser, which comes on Apple Inc. devices such as the iPad. People who download the Google music app on devices running Android 2.2 and higher can stream stored songs or download them for offline playback within the app.
Google's director of digital content for Android, Jamie Rosenberg, took a dig at Apple's online song storage service, iTunes Match, which costs $25 a year. Google's cloud storage service is free for up to 20,000 songs.
"Other cloud music services think you have to pay to listen to music you already own. We don't," he said.
Recording company executives said that, although some of Google's features go beyond what is offered at iTunes — specifically the one free listen for friends, the concessions were worth the benefit of reaching new customers.
"How many people do you know have both an iPhone and an Android device?" said Universal's president of global digital business, Rob Wells. "I encourage any new entrant into the digital music space who is going to help us reach a broad audience and sell legitimate songs."
Mark Piibe, EMI's executive vice president of global business development, said Google's plan to bring legitimately sold music to people in new ways "can only be good for the market as a whole."
Although Google and the recording companies hope sharing of songs helps sell more tunes, some observers were skeptical.
Adam Klein, chief executive of discount digital music store eMusic, said that for his customers, buying music is more a considered, personal decision that is often not influenced by friends' tastes.
"A Google-Plus tie-in will not make it a game changer," he said.
T-Mobile USA, which brought Google's first Android-enabled smartphone to market in 2008, also was a partner in the Google music launch. The cellphone carrier said it would offer other free songs to its customers and soon allow them to pay for music purchases through their phone bill.
Google also appealed to independent artists who release their own music, allowing them to upload songs, biographical information and artwork to the store after paying a one-time $25 fee. Artists would be able to keep 70 percent of all sales.
By launching the store, Google is opening its music service widely. It released the service as an unfinished beta in May to about a million people in the U.S. who requested an invitation and got one. That version of the service, which essentially uploaded your digital songs for online storage and allowed playback on computers and Android devices, proved to be a hit: Testers were streaming music on average 2.5 hours every day.
Copyright (2011) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Intense but humor-laced story of a romance between the town “good girl” and a charming senior that becomes difficult with the introduction of adult problems. Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller excel as the young couple.Director: James Ponsoldt
Cast: Miles Teller, Shailene Woodley, Kyle Chandler
1953 | Western | NRSummary: One of the very best westerns follows a former gunslinger whose current non-violent ways are put to the test by cattle barons whose rapacious greed threatens his new community.Director: George Stevens
Cast: Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Heflin
2011 | Drama | NRSummary: The daughter of a ruined family moves back to the Hamptons where she charms her way into wealthy society even as she plots the downfall of all around her.Director: Mike Kelley (creator)
Cast: Madeleine Stowe, Emily VanCamp, Gabriel Mann
2007 | Drama | RSummary: Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a masterful performance as an up-and-coming oil tycoon whose controlling nature corrupts him utterly.Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, Ciarán Hinds
2007 | Comedy | NRSummary: Wacky animated kids’ show about a "catbearrabbit" named Chowder (don’t think too hard about that one), a would-be chef with a big problem: he can’t resist food.Director: C.H. Greenblatt (creator)
Cast: Nicky Jones, Dwight Schultz, John DiMaggio
1940 | Comedy | NRSummary: Nearly perfect screwball comedy featuring a woman (Rosalind Russell) caught between her ruthless ex-husband (Cary Grant) and her dull insurance agent fiance (Ralph Bellamy).Director: Howard Hawks
Cast: Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
2009 | Drama | NRSummary: Everything changes for 15 year old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.Director: Andrea Arnold
Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Rebecca Griffiths
2013 | Adventure | PGSummary: Good-natured animated film in which a snail obsessed with speed dreams of being a racing champion.Director: David Soren
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti, Maya Rudolph
2014 | Drama | NRSummary: About a man who’s angry at his wife because she’s met another man on a park bench and they no longer even speak the same language.Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Cast: Jessica Erickson, Héloïse Godet, Zoé Bruneau, Kamel Abdeli
Let Streaming Genie help you.