A few weeks ago, I blogged about how Amazon beat both Google and Apple to put music in the cloud, even though they sidestepped some strict U.S. licensing agreements. Well, it turns out Google was not too far behind with the launch of their own musical cloud service, which came out just six weeks later. But was Google following in Amazon’s footsteps too closely?
The free (for now) service allows users to upload a maximum of 2000 songs to a personal online storage locker from where they can stream and download files from any device connected to the Internet. But, Google, just like Amazon, has also decided to launch their cloud music service, Music Beta, without concern for licensing. According to Google director of content partnerships Zahavah Levine, this is because “a couple of major labels were less focused on innovation and more on demanding unreasonable and unsustainable business terms.”
While this may present problems down the road, Google’s new cloud music service came with another launch that’s making Android smartphone users like me pretty excited. Along with Music Beta, Google has released a new music player app, which can be downloaded on any Android device. The app can play music stored on the phone as well as music stored in the cloud, so long as the user is part of the beta (Music Beta is available on a limited, invite-only basis limited to U.S. users – do you have your invite yet?).
The music app can create playlists based on a single song with its Instant Mix feature by analyzing the song’s characteristics and pulling other similar songs. It can also sync any playlists across devices, so users don’t have to bother transferring files between devices and recreating the list. Pretty cool!
So, as we wait to understand what will become of both Amazon and Google’s choice to bypass licensing agreements, it seems music as we know it is changing. Which service will you choose to upload your music library to?