Google is readying a new online music service similar to a service recently launched by Amazon. Google, like Amazon’s Cloud Drive, hasn’t secured licenses from the four major labels and is likely to include a system that functions much like a remote hard drive, reports WSJ. Initially, the service will launch as a beta test and not be available to the public at large. The system Google is likely to unveil, according to the story, is based off of a “passive” locker, which, so far, does not require licenses from the labels.
For example, Amazon’s Cloud Drive is a web storage application unveiled on 3/29, providing users with five gigabytes of storage space by default, with further storage space costing a dollar per gigabyte per year. Bundled with Cloud Drive is a music streaming app dubbed Cloud Player which allows users to access their music from any computer or Android device with Internet access. It may lead to a bigger offering that it could create once it has licenses in place with many more feature offerings.
So, at launch, users are expected to be able to listen to songs they have uploaded to the service via streaming but won’t be able to download the files themselves, probably to prevent piracy. But eventually, the service is unlikely to be tied to an online music store like Amazon MP3, which gives users the option of adding new songs to their collection if they buy them.
Apple is also reportedly in negotiations with major labels to secure licenses for a higher-featured online music service than either Amazon’s or the one Google has in the works.
RBR-TVBR observation: Many record companies were probably caught with their pants down from the launch of Amazon Cloud. However, the legality of Cloud Player is questionable, and it’s likely there will be some sort of record industry suit brought on Amazon, Google or any other service eventually. But for now, it’s a bit of a legal loophole, similar to the early days of Napster.