Cutting it close, Google signed a deal with major music labels just one day before the official Google Music launch event this afternoon. Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment, Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group, EMI Music and "independent music labels" have all gotten on board with Google, reports The Wall Street Journal's. Ethan Smith and Amir Efrati. Up until now, Google offered a beta "music service" that was more of a cloud service for songs than a music servic, since it didn't have any songs for sale. But now, it looks like this afternoon Google will announce a bona-fide music service that does more than just store iTunes songs.
Timed two days after the iTunes Match launch, Google's service sounds like it will be a lot like Apple's offering. With Match, Apple put its already popular music storage, selling and organization service (iTunes) in the cloud. Google already has the cloud part, but now it's adding the sales part. Like Apple's $.99 per song model, Google's songs will go for around "$1 apiece," sources told the Journal. Sounds like the selection will be pretty extensive, too, considering all the big name record labels that signed on. And, as the Beta service already offers, Google will allow for storage of around 20,000 songs, giving users access to their own music libraries via the Internet.
Now that Google's music service offers songs, it's a service someone might opt for instead of iTunes Match. Though, Match has one big benefit: automatic uploading. After subscribing for $24.99 per year, Match scans your harddrive for music and automatically populates the library with songs iTunes recognizes, saving users a lot of legwork. Google Music requires manual upload, for a price that has yet to be revealed. Yet, Google Music has some nice touches for Google loyalists. Those with Android phones can access the entire music library on the go. Apple offers the same perk for iPhone owners. Google's also borrowing one of the social offerings in BlackBerry's music service by offering "one or two free listens of the songs with their contacts on the Google+ social-networking service," write Smith and Efrati.