Google to Unveil Online Music Store
Google Inc. on Wednesday is expected to unveil an online music-download store featuring songs from three of the world’s four biggest music companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, and EMI Music are expected to have deals in place to let Google sell their music in time for an announcement Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, these people said.
Independent music labels also will participate, said other people familiar with the matter.
On Wednesday evening, pop band Maroon 5 and rapper Drake, both of whom are signed to Universal-owned labels, are expected to perform in Los Angeles at an event tied to the announcement.
A Google spokesman declined to comment.
Additionally, after buying songs from Google Music for around $1 apiece, users are expected to be able to share one or two free listens of the songs with their contacts on the Google+ social-networking service, these people said.
However, these people added, the announcement Wednesday isn’t expected to include significant changes to an online music "locker" called Music Beta that Google has operated for several months without licenses from the major labels.
Google’s Music Beta lets people access their personal music collections from any Web-connected PC or mobile device powered by Google’s Android software.
To use the service, people must upload their digital music files from their personal computers to the Music Beta locker.
By contrast, Apple Inc.’s iTunes Match, which started operating Monday, doesn’t require people to upload their music, saving them time.
The iTunes Match service launched with licenses from music labels, enabling it to "scan and match" a user’s music collection, meaning it automatically populates an online locker with the songs it recognizes.
Selling downloads could provide a boost to Google+ as well as Google’s Android-powered mobile devices, which compete with Apple devices such as the iPhone and iPad.
The move also comes amid competition from social network Facebook Inc., which began a partnership with Spotify AB, the music-streaming service.