Google is making allies in the music industry, with Warner Music reportedly onboard as Vivendi, Sony and EMI consider support for a Google Music service.
There have plenty of attempts at breaking control in the MP3 market dominated by Apple, but it still remains closed off. Apple serves as the leader and all others struggle for the remaining pieces of the market that is not controlled by iTunes.
As recently published, the new rumored Google music service received early support from music industry executives looking to break the growing control that Apple has on the digital music landscape. There are more than 7.6 million Android-powered smartphones used in the U.S., and Android phone sales have overtaken iPhone sales during 2010.
“Consumers are constantly looking for new music, and discovering music is a key to monetization,” said Russ Crupnick, NPD Group music analyst, in an interview with the L.A. Times. “Lord knows people are using Google to learn and discover just about everything else. The labels are very aware of that.”
Meanwhile, this could be a great new opportunity for record labels to generate new revenue outside of iTunes. Music industry revenue dropped more than 12 percent year-over-year between 2008 and 2009, and CD sales continue to decline.
Most music fans either illegally download files through peer-to-peer networks or use paying digital services, however, record labels haven’t been able to generate as much revenue from MP3s.
iTunes remains a major powerhouse in music and movie distribution — a thought not lost upon record labels — and I can’t imagine Steve Jobs is happy to see Google receiving such strong support from weary business partners.
I don’t honestly like the RIAA partnering with Apple or Google — especially with Google’s recent fascination with user personal information — with the search engine company expected to tie search features and mobile Android into the music offering.
To help benefit from its strong success of Android, Google must ensure its open source OS continues to see market growth on smartphones, tablets, netbooks and other portable consumer electronics.
The addition of Google into the music market could force Apple to make strategy changes — including price cuts or bundle downloads — to try to prevent Google’s rise. With the added help of several record labels, Google could become a major force in a short time.