Google preps music-streaming service

Google is close to launching a music-streaming service similar to Spotify, according to reports, although it remains unclear as to the potential business model behind the service.

Google Music

According to reports, the online services giant has secured deals with record labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment as well as Warner Music Group to launch the service.

Google has yet to comment on the potential launch however multiple reports have cited sources familiar with the developments, with additional accounts speculating that it will launch in the third quarter of 2013.

Google Music – an iTunes-like service that lets users upload and store tracks they’ve already purchased online – launched in 2011 and speculation over it launching a music-streaming service has lasted since.

The reports come as Google prepares to kick off its annual summit Google I/O in the US, where it briefs software developers on its latest updates and where some of its key products have been launched in the past.

Meanwhile, Apple’s efforts to launch a rival online music-streaming service – widely dubbed as “iRadio” – have stalled due to disagreements with record labels over royalty payments, namely Sony.

View point

Ronan Shields

There are contrasting views on the business model Google will adopt for such a service – ad funded, premium or possibly a hybrid one?

However, I will add that earlier this month the announcement of the IAB’s first Audio Council membership surprised me when among its membership included Google (in its YouTube guise).

I queried this development at the time but sources within Google told me bluntly that it doesn’t run audio ads. But that doesn’t mean things can’t change.

Although it is minuscule in terms of scale compared to Google or Apple, Spotify is widely regarded as the success story for online music-streaming services, funded by both ads and premium subscriptions.

My guess is that Google’s ambition is to launch a similar service that will (ideally) dwarf it in terms of scale and beating Apple’s ‘iRadio’ to market would likely be an incentive to do so.

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