UPDATED 06:18 EST / NOVEMBER 17 2011

How Google Music Compares to iTunes, Spotify

There are so many music services available today that you’d have to ask why Google Music is such a big deal.  I’ll tell you why, because Google Music takes on two giants: Apple and Facebook.  How, you ask?  Keep reading and I’ll tell you.

Google Music

Lat’s take a look at what Google Music is and what it offers.  It started as Music Beta in May of this year, like a dry run for Google as they test the waters.  Google Music is a service that lets users discover, purchase, share and enjoy digital music in new, innovative and personalized ways.  Google wants to stick to the core–listening to music should be the center of any music service, so they have eliminated tedious tasks and provided ways of keeping your playlist intact and available whatever device you wish to use it from.

Google Music has over 13 million tracks from over 1000 record labels including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, global independent rights agency Merlin, prominent independent labels including Merge Records, Warp Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Naxos; and the world’s largest digital distributors of independent music including IODA, INgrooves, The Orchard and Believe Digital.

Aside from that, they also have exclusive deals from various artists like The Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, Shakira, Pearl Jam, Dave Mathews Band and Tiesto.
But it seems like Google Music is still missing a big chunk, as Warner Music Group has yet to sign a deal with Google.  So don’t expect to find songs or albums from Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers just yet.

Google Music vs. iTunes

iTunes Match, the new service from Apple that matches your songs to those available in the iTunes store, then if mathced it will be automatically stored on the iCloud in ACC file.  The service also allows users to store 25,000 songs in the iCloud for $25 per year.  And this is where Google outdoes Apple, Google Music lets users store up to 20,000 song in the cloud for free, the only catch is users have to manually upload those 20,000 songs.

“Other cloud music services think you have to pay to listen to music you already own. We don’t,” Jamie Rosenberg, Google’s director of digital content for Android said.

Google Music vs. Spotify

We all know that Spotify is now integrated with Facebook.  It allows users to listen to a song, once, for free so they can asses if they really like the song before they purchase it.  This is where Google Music trumps Spotify and Facebook–with Google Music and Google+, users can share the songs directly to anyone who they wish to share the music with.

“We’re the first store that enables users to share their purchased music with their friends,” Zahavah Levine, Android‘s director of content partnerships, said after the press event. “This is the single most important way that people discover new music. I think that has the potential to transform purchasing behavior.”

But the sharing capabilities of Google Music are still limited, and Spotify has an option for creating public URLs to share entire playlists, amongst other direct sharing features.

Spotify is also an extensive music streaming service, whereas Google Music and its new Store are more akin to iTunes.  Google’s still lacking most of the capabilities found on Spotify, and instead of accessing millions of songs on-demand with their monthly subscription, Google Music is based on songs you already own and those you purchase through the Store.  No serendipitous artist radio stations or recommended playlists.

Google and Independent Upcoming Artist

Before, wannabe singers put their videos on YouTube so that talent scouts can discover them.  Now, upcoming artists can even earn money while waiting for fame to arrive.  With Google Music artist hub, artists can distribute their own music on the said platform, and use the artist hub interface to build an artist page, upload original tracks, set prices and sell content directly to fans.  It’s like you’re managing your own career.  Any artists, established or newbies, can take control of their own hub through Google Music.

The Downside

This is a new thing and people are so used to using iTunes, it will be hard to wean people away from what they have grown accustomed to.  And the service is only available in the US for now, since they haven’t secured all the needed record label deals so don’t expect that Google Music will just reign over the music scene in just a blink of an eye.


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