Google’s Music service is finally officially available in Australia, this comes alongside a major update to the Google Play Stores interface on Android. The link is now showing up on both the app for Android and the web interface. The service has been available in Europe and the USA for quite some time and allows users to store up to 20,000 songs in an online music locker in Google’s cloud.
Google Music is a combination of a digital music store, online storage for up to 20,000 of your favourite songs to be streamed, backed up and downloaded on your computer or Android device as well as integration with Google’s own social network Google Plus.
One of my favourite parts, which has a lot of untapped potential is its artist hub—essentially, this feature gives small time bands and artists the tools that record labels have in the digital music world.
The music store, may not have the amount of artists iTunes but has the potential to grow. Google has 3 of the ‘big 4’ labels signed, plus 23 of the biggest indie labels, meaning that most tracks you’re looking for will be there.
Rather than having a dedicated client to buy your new tracks, you simply download them from the Android Market, whether it be online or on your device.
Google Music’s cloud service offers users the ability to upload their library of up to 20,000 tracks (although… seriously, who regularly listens to more than 20,000 different songs?) This then allows you to stream music through either the web interface or on your Android device.
If you want to keep the tracks on your computer or phone, then you can download them in a flash. This all works really well, and I like it a lot more than Apple’s iTunes Match which restricts you from only having tracks you bought on iTunes.
My favourite feature, as I said before, is the Artist Hub. It seems that Google was observed MySpace’s potential as an independent music hub… before MySpace started pissing that away.
Artist Hub is a tool for artists to create a profile, hold video clips, upcoming gigs, photos and then use this profile as a portal through which to sell their music at whatever price they want. It’s an independent artist’s dream, and I can see a lot them flocking to it. The catch? Well, Google wants 30% of the profit from tracks and a one up fee of $25 to use it—I doubt this will deter many, however.
Google Music does not yet have a streaming offering, but there have been rumours of it coming. But for those with an Android device and who has a large collection of digital music that they would appreciate in the cloud as well, this is a blessing.
Google has also released a new version of its Play Store featuring a completely overhauled interface focusing on images as well as a much more lighter and colourful theme. If you’re interested in getting it, PCWorld has kindly put a guide together on how to get it here.