It won't be launched quite the way it was intended, but today Google will unveil Music Beta, a cloud-based music player that aims to take on Amazon's Cloud Drive and a forthcoming product from Apple. The service, which allows users to store purchased music on a online locker (rather than clog up a hard drive with mp3s), will be announced today at a developers' conference in San Francisco.
According a rundown from Billboard's Antony Bruno, Music Beta doesn't come with the blessing of major record labels, who balked at the service just like they did with Amazon's Cloud Drive. Google had been planning features like a "scan-and-match" locker that uploaded users' music and matched songs "to a centralized server, paying rightsholders for each stream," wrote Bruno. As of now, as the Wall Street Journal reported, Google's service should be seen as a enormous "remote hard drive," since users won't be able to purchase songs from the tech company initially.
Invite-only Music Beta users will be able to upload 20,000 songs, more than the 2,000 song/5 GB that Amazon gives for free. Billboard also notes that Beta will have a feature called "Instant Mix," which appears to work like Apple's "Genius" button, which matches "song's characteristics (not just metadata) and pulls other similar songs from the users' music library."
The service will allow all users to stream their songs across all digital devices they own that have an Internet connection. In a pre-launch appraisal, TechCrunch lamented the "frustrating" amount of time it will take to upload the GBs' worth of music to the cloud and noted that without major label support the service "will look like Apple's ugly sibling. Again."
Update: the site is now live, and Google's intro video is below: