Google is due to launch a music streaming and downloading service in November with the hope of challenging market leaders like Apple and Amazon. It will link to its social network, Google+, and would allow users to share their music with other Google+ members.
At the time of writing, the search engine has not yet finalised deals with major music labels to back this new service but according to a recent WSJ article, Google will probably proceed without full support from Sony and Warner. However, without the rights to sell music from these two labels, it is likely users will look elsewhere, such as Spotify. Introduced to the public in 2008, Spotify has built a loyal user base and recently teamed up with Facebook to allow users quick and easy access to share music with friends. When looking at a friend's wall, Facebook users can see the songs their friends are listening to. Perhaps Google Music - which has been in the beta stages since May - will be an equal match to Spotify, but what about iTunes, that has been on the scene since 2003? While iTunes has about 70% of the digital download market, according to an Los Angeles Times article, it has dominated the music scene for almost ten years, so it was inevitable that competitors would soon surface. In addition to this, the cost of new releases on iTunes has risen since last year and has twisted the arms of users looking for cheaper alternatives, such as Spotify. Since its launch in the US this summer and its collaboration with Facebook in September, Spotify has taken on three million new users. The appeal of Spotify is the accessibility and flexibility of the service: unlimited music for the first six months and $5 a month after that. iTunes will have to examine its priorities if it wants to retain its users, otherwise it risks losing them to Spotify, if it hasn't already. Google Music shows how eager the company is to expand its services but like Google+, will this new music service be enough to rival Facebook and its deal with Spotify? Let me know below or on Twitter - @samiakesseiri