Here’s the snapshot of what Google presented in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
‘Google Music,’ slide 24.
* 200 million [Android] activations
* 20,000 songs fre
* Music store
* Share on Google+
* Content Partners
* Artist Hub
* T-Mobile Partnership
There’s a download store. But who really cares if Warner Music Group wasn’t on board? Paid downloads have always been a sideshow for consumers, anyway (though perhaps this means slower WMG uploads, let’s see).
There’s a social component. But who knows whether we’ll be sharing purchased tracks on Google+ a year from now? I’m still trying to ‘get’ Plus; friend me on Facebook in the meantime. Sure, Google is excited about the ability to share full-length songs to your Plus circles. Sounds interesting, but let’s see how that evolves… it’s an experiment.
These, by contrast, aren’t experimental – they’re real game-changers . And Google Music is now shocking the industry with two giant prods:
(1) Google’s music cloud is free for up to 20,000 songs; and
(2) their ‘Artist Hub’ allows anyone to directly upload, manage, and sell music, without the need for a DIY middleman.
These are not only game-changers, they could quickly provoke responses from Apple, Amazon, and others, while also potentially creating disastrous ripples for the entire DIY middleman space.
Meanwhile, the big-boy clouds are just launching, yet the game’s already changing overnight! While Apple is limiting iTunes Match to 25,000 uploads – and making you pay for the privilege – Google is giving it to you for free. And, forcing Apple to revisit its strategy – right now.
Then there’s the DIY play, which has the potential to aggravate a long-silent faultline. If you had told me on Tuesday that Google was getting into DIY, I would have yawned. It’s such an overcrowded space! But this is totally different, especially from someone as hefty as Google.
Their just-launched ‘Artist Hub’ is all about direct-uploading, with one upfront cost. And you don’t need Tunecore or CD Baby, you just hop on board. “This is a bit of a new experience for a digital retailer,” said Google’s Chris Yerga.
The action is happening at music.google.com/artists, where Google is asking for a one-time, $25 startup fee. That sounds modest, though we’ve been impressed with how disastrously broke – and reluctant to pay – many artists can be.
The bigger question is whether another giant – ie, Apple or Amazon – now decides to do exactly the same thing. After all, why not create something equally artist-friendly, and create greater affinity to your ecosystem in the process? It’s a threat that’s been dangling for years, and a huge consideration given the lopsidedness enjoyed by the iTunes Store.
Let’s see if Google just caused a DIY earthquake.