Google Music expected to launch in November
Google Music could be less than a month away if industry sources are correct, as the new cloud-based music service has been pegged for a November launch by music industry insiders.
The Guardian is reporting that EMI just signed up for the service and that Google is currently negotiating with Universal, the label responsible for Lady Gaga and U2.
Google's Android development chief Andy Rubin did state "I think we're close" to launching the service, at a Hong Kong conference.
Sony Music and Warner Music, the other two key labels worldwide, are also in talks with Google about signing up for the service.
Rubin also explained that when it does launch, Google Music will have "a little twist – it will have a little Google in it. We won't just be selling 99-cent tracks."
There is of course the Music Beta by Google which we have spent a lengthy hands-on with and is unfortunately a US-only affair right now. Whilst we can't definitively say what the final service is going to look like, we expect Google will have drawn on what they have learned from the Music Beta.
The service should work by letting you download tracks from a web-based music store, before sending them to multiple devices via the cloud. Think of it like iTunes Match, creating copies of songs you already have stored locally online. It has, however, been slightly controversial among the major music labels who believe Google is undercutting Apple's $25 per year for iTunes Match.
We can't be sure whether Google Music will arrive globally at launch. Given the issues involved in signing contracts with multiple labels across different territories, we expect that it may arrive just in the US for the time being.
Spotify faced similar problems with its Facebook integration, in particular the track sharing elements, which meant that different songs had different rights in different countries. The company worked around this by playing a similar or same version of a track in each territory, creating the illusion you were listening to the same music as friends, whether they were in the same country as you or not.
Expect more from us on Google Music as it gets closer to launch. Who knows, it could even end up rolling out with Ice Cream Sandwich.
What do you think of Google Music? Let us know in the comments below...