Google, possibly eying subscription music streamer Spotify's 6 million paying users, may be introducing a music streaming service of its own. It sounds like Google will add in the new, subscription-only service as an expansion of its Play media hub.
The Verge, who first reported the story, says that Google will announce the new service on Wednesday at the Google I/O conference. The planned service should not come as a surprise: Google has reportedly secured some essential licensing deals in recent months with the top three record labels — Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group. The Verge explains further:
Google plans to add separate music subscription services to YouTube and Google Play, the entertainment hub for the Android operating system. Earlier this year, Fortune magazine reported that Google had already struck similar licensing agreements with Warner Music Group, the smallest of the top three record labels. But landing Universal Music and Sony gives Google access to the two largest record companies, home to such acts as Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Jay-Z. Spokespeople from Sony and Universal declined to comment.
Google Play isn't quite a robust rival to Apple's iTunes at this point, as the New York Times notes, but YouTube's heavy usage by record labels as a promotional tool may have helped Google in their licensing negotiations. Plus, Apple's attempts to start a Pandora-like streaming service have stalled, meaning that Google might get a bump simply by winning the race. According to the Times, the Google streaming service won't offer a free version. The subscription cost will be comparable to their competitors, at around $10 a month.
For what it's worth, all signs indicate that Spotify won't take a Google competitor quietly. The streaming service made recent attempts to win over what would be YouTube's built-in audience for a subscription service, reportedly paying upwards of $400,000 a day to advertise on their homepage.