What You Need to Know About Google Music

Today, at a major media event that is being broadcast live on YouTube’s Android channel beginning at 5pm EST, and is inexplicably taking place at Mr. Brainwash’s studio in LA, Google is expected to debut the final version of its recently-launched Google Music cloud service, as well as an online download store that’s akin to iTunes. So what does this mean for you? We’re glad you asked! Click through for a quick roundup of what we know so far, as well as some speculation by industry types about what could be unveiled during today’s announcement.

This is what it looks like (at least in beta).

“As it stands now in beta, Google Music is just a cloud locker for the stuff you already have — a way to listen to your library from any computer or via iOS/Android app,” writes Sam Biddle at Gizmodo. “There’s also a built-in, iTunes-style player.”

For now, only about 80% of songs will be on there.
As the LA Times explains, Google has already reached licensing deals with Universal, Sony, EMI, and Merlin Network, “a global consortium of more than 18,000 independent record labels and artists.” The biggie that’s currently missing from that list? Warner Music Group, who allegedly has concerns about pricing and piracy.

The prices will be comparable to iTunes or Amazon.
Bloomberg reports that songs will cost $.99 to $1.29, “though Google may offer discounts,” according to one insider.

What could make it more interesting than the competition…
There’s rumored to be an unprecedented emphasis on social functions and sharing. According to Jay Greene at CNET, there has been speculation about a feature “that will let users give songs to their Google+ friends to listen to one time for free.” True, Google+ has yet to truly take off yet, but we imagine that something like this could be just the thing to bring usage into the mainstream. Also, as Ginny Mies at PCWorld points out, “if Google can pull off a user-friendly interface that tightly integrates with the store, I can see it being a big hit with Android enthusiasts.”