Word has been spreading over the past few months about a new online music service from search industry giant Google. Now, new details are beginning to emerge regarding the structure and planned features of the service thanks to a new report from Billboard, who claims to have received the information from anonymous industry sources.
Google had been proposing a digital download online store and cloud-based digital locker subscription service for customers’ music storage. The subscription would cost consumers around $25 per year to store the songs in the locker, which would give them the choice of either streaming or downloading their music to any internet-connected device.
The locker application would scan a subscriber’s hard drive and add any licensed tracks to the cloud-based account. This would include tracks downloaded from other online music stores, those which subscribers have ripped from their CD collections, and even music downloaded from P2P networks. Any tracks purchased from Google’s music store could be transferred directly to the locker for easy access.
Perhaps the best part of this new service would be the music preview capabilities, which Google is pushing record companies to allow them licensing for. Songs available in the online store could be listened to in their entirety for one play and then would subsequently be reduced to 30-second clips.
The same type of system would apply to the social networking aspect of the application. Subscribers would have the ability to send custom playlists to other subscribers who would be able to listen to the songs for one full play.
Google is still trying to finalize details with music labels and publishers, so online store pricing is not yet available. However, based upon the reported wholesale rates that Google is said to be paying for the music, it is speculated that tracks will cost $0.99, while full digital albums would be $10.
While I don’t know that I would utilize the online store, the cloud-based digital locker system sounds like a fairly priced way to be able to access music on-the-go. I’m looking forward to seeing what Google comes up with for the user interface of the system.