#google music

Is this the name of Google’s new dating service?

Oh, no, it’s the broad umbrella for music, movies, books, and apps. I totally get the name for music, movies, and games. But for books and apps? 

Of course, it’s not like Apple can say anything about it:

Pretty much everything Wayne Rosso says (extending upon what Greg Sandoval previously said) rings true except for the notion that Google might pull the plug on the service so soon. That would make too much sense. 

Also, the idea that Google Music is not taking off due to a lack of marketing is laughable. Does it concern anyone else how much Google — long flat-out opposed to advertising itself — is now seemingly addicted to it, in order to prop-up products?

This is all very surprising to me. As I wrote in May 2011:

This is exactly why you don’t pre-announce products. I hate to say this before I’ve even seen the product, but this thing has all the makings of yet another flop.

And in November 2011:

I still don’t really get why Google is doing this. This feels like another reach. They’re going after something that Apple has dominated for the better part of a decade. And they clearly know how difficult the content space is after the Google TV fiasco and the last 18 months trying to launch this store. 

If Google is trying to focus, this seems like another distraction.

Google could have at least tried to do something actually interesting in the music space. Instead, they created yet another shitty-margin business. And they did so a decade too late. They really should have just teamed up with Spotify. Or Rdio. Or someone. Anyone. 

We’re coming up on the two year anniversary of when Google Music was first unveiled. Two years! Warner Music is still not on board! Awesome.

Google’s Musical Chairs

I kid, I kid. Google’s Music Store is interesting for a few reasons. 

While the prices will apparently be between $0.99 and $1.29 — the same as iTunes — Google may discount tracks to entice buyers. Of course, Amazon has done this for years to little effect. 

As Brian Womack and Andy Fixmer report for Bloomberg, only three of the four big labels are said to be on board: Sony, Universal, and EMI. The fourth, Warner, is holding out apparently due to pricing and piracy concerns.

It has been about 18 months since Google first indicated their iTunes competitor was coming “soon” (and soundedawesome”). If they really still don’t have all four labels on board, that’s just sad. And I don’t understand why they’d launch without everyone on board. Spotify waited. Apple waited. Everyone waits. It’s weird to have a huge chunk of popular music unavailable. 

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Claire Cain Miller:

Google does not have licenses from the music labels, even though it has been negotiating with them for months to partner on a cloud service. As a result, users of Google’s service cannot do certain things that would legally require licenses, like sharing songs with friends and buying songs from Google.

It was almost exactly a year ago that Google first talked about this service at I/O. That’s embarrassing. So embarrassing that they’ve apparently had enough, and they’re going it alone. Like Amazon.

Why?

Android’s director of digital content tells Cain Miller:

A couple of major labels were not as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable and did not allow us to build a product or a business on a sustainable business.

In other words, they’re using the press to try and rally support on their side. Smart, but it will likely just piss the labels off even more.

They have leverage after all. And its name is Apple.

Amazon’s move was a ballsy one by a distant second place player hoping to make a move. Google’s move is simply a failure to get something they pre-announced a year ago done.

I mean seriously, they could have launched exactly what they’re announcing tomorrow one year ago. They wasted all that time negotiating for nothing. Now they’re resorting to whining in the press about it.

This is exactly why you don’t pre-announce products. I hate to say this before I’ve even seen the product, but this thing has all the makings of yet another flop.