My last post talked about Bandcamp and its possibility of being the future of how music is distributed from artists to fans and the role it has played in some musician’s recent success. I came across a news post on Absolutepunk.net by Matthew Tsai about Google's attempt to launch a music service that sort of plays into the future of music and how consumers access it. Aside from distribution methods by services such as Bandcamp, the way consumers obtain music has largely been dominated by Apple’s iTunes store. However, Google is planning a launch of its new service Google Music which may draw some users away from iTunes.
The news posting links to Jacob Ganz’s NPR article "What Google Music Might Look Like" details Google’s plans to enter the world of music distribution. One of the major innovation Ganz mentions in his article is Google’s desire to allow streaming of music purchased from the store as well as songs from CDs users have ripped to the storage service. According to the article, subscriptions to the service will be about $25 a year. The service allows users to stream their music from any device that can access the Internet, which means virtually every personal device that is popular today.
This simple aspect of Google Music, regardless of any other features, is what makes this idea such an interesting prospect. Almost everyone I know, including myself, owns an iPod or other mp3 storage device and the main appeal behind them is the ability to carry around your entire musical library with you so that whenever the idea of ‘Oh, I really wish I could listen to such and such a song right now” pops into your head, you are able to switch that song almost instantly.
The problem with these devices is that people have to transfer the files from their hard drive to the device in order to hear them. With the Google Music service, that restriction is eliminated. Once the song is purchased or placed into the storage section of your profile, you can stream it wirelessly from any device with an Internet connection. Sadly this is not possible for users who have placed the music in their iTunes library and forgot to place the album on their iPods because the music on an iTunes library is stored on the computer’s hard drive and therefore cannot be remotely accessed.
I am intrigued by this service and although I am not certain if I will subscribe to it when it goes live, I think the service will appeal to many people who are constantly on the go. The thought that you can now access your music library from virtually any of your electronic devices that can be as small is a cell phone is an incredibly exciting idea. I cannot wait for Google to roll out this new service and see what sort of impact it has on other services and the music business in general.