Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

For streaming, one service will soon tower above all others

How the imminent Google Music music service is going to change the goalposts on the streaming pitch

Fri, Mar 1, 2013, 09:55


It’s time for the biggest name in music discovery to finally join the streaming fray. You may think that Spotify or iTunes lead the way when it comes to people finding out about music but, nine times out of 10, it’s Google which leads the way.

His master’s voice, 2013 version

Whether it’s through the omnipresent search engine (though the music industry whinges that this is a gateway to music piracy) or via its gigantic YouTube platform, a repository of more music content than Spotify and iTunes put together, Google is already very much in the music game. Launching a streaming service puts the cap on it.

Of course, we have been hearing rumours of Google’s move into music provision for years. It’s one of those rumours, like Apple’s long mooted streaming service, which dominates tech tittle-tattle, yet has never come to pass.

This time, though, the word is they’re negotiating licenses with labels and are ready to roll. It will be an interesting development for many reasons. For a start, it gives Spotify a run for their ad-supported service. Google, as we know only too well, are fiends for the ads and, having already disrupted the online classified ad business, could flex some serious ad sales muscles in this regard.

A Google music service would also mean another source of revenue for acts. Sure, as the doomsayers will always crib, it’s not going to be the same cash as flogging a CD or even a download, but it’s additional income nonetheless. And, positivity alert, label sources report that streaming income in recent quarterly reports continues to grow apace.

Moreover, it shows the continuing importance of music to technology companies. When it comes to new products, music remains the vehicle of choice. That the music industry is still trying to work out how to maximise such exposure says it all about how uncreative the sector has become.