Yesterday Google announced the creation of its new cloud-based music service, Music Beta. Currently available only by invitation, Google’s new service is much like Amazon’s Cloud music solution, offering users the ability to upload their own music library to remote servers that can be accessed by any computer or Android mobile device.
The draw for both these services is that you won’t have to mess with portable music players anymore or eat up a bunch of memory storing 50,000 songs on your phone, which will leave more room for apps, pictures, and other media. And Music Beta will allow you to store up to 20,000 songs for free—although a price structure has not been announced yet for upgrades and premium services.
The music app market is flooded right now. There are tons of different options for people who want to listen in a myriad of different ways. And although Google’s service is a little higher quality than Amazon’s, the question remains: Will people want to use the Google service when there are so many other options available?
For example, why not just sign up for a free Grooveshark account and not limit yourself to your personal music library? You can save Grooveshark playlists from a virtually endless supply of music in the cloud and access them from any computer. Grooveshark even offers a mobile app, although access is $9/month. With the Google service, you can only access your personal music files, so you’re stuck with the same boring music you’ve already been listening to on your iPod.
The reality is, Google Music isn’t ground breaking and won’t change the way we listen to music. Any expert in the digital music space will tell you that storing music in the cloud was an inevitability, Google is just the second company to the punch. Also, Apple has already purchased the iCloud.com domain, and it is widely rumored that the new OSX release, Lion, will come with built-in cloud storage features.
Historically, Google has not had a great track record of success when creating redundant services. Remember Buzz? How about Wave? Google video? (To be fair, they own YouTube, so that last one was not a complete bust). Although Google is tops in search, email, and web analytics, most of their forays into social or “cool” technologies have been somewhat of a bust.
So can Google pull the proverbial rabbit out of a hat this time and become the #1 music cloud service provider? We’ll just have to wait and see.