Nov 17 - Google Music opens for business just as iTunes launches its iTunes Match locker, the latest punches in the increasingly fierce digital music business. Bobbi Rebell reports.
Google is turning up the volume in its Android battle with Apple- launching Google Music- partnering with three of the four major labels, and eventually offering more than 13 million songs. Music industry veteran Patrick Sullivan is the President and CEO of licensing services provider Rightsflow- and has worked with Google. SOUNDBITE: PATRICK SULLIVAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, RIGHTSFLOW (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think it's going to create a need for consumers to look at other opportunities, to take away the consumers from going direct to iTunes and utilizing that Android market place of 200 million consumers and really puts a real fierce competition in place. I think it is exciting and it gives consumers more choice." Google Music will be playing catch up with its rivals- Apple and Amazon; and have similar prices. While iTunes is the dominant music player, Google has Android, which is the world's number one smartphone operating system. Google will allow consumers to share purchased songs with friends on its Google + social network. And to jump start the service, users will get one free download every day. Google will also offer a free cloud service to store up to 20,000 songs. Apple is playing a similar tune with its just launched iTunes Match Locker. That service is $25 a year for 25,000 songs- but users don't have to upload their music. Regardless of the service, the Cloud is where the digital music industry is heading. SOUNDBITE: PATRICK SULLIVAN, PRESIDENT AND CEO, RIGHTSFLOW (ENGLISH) SAYING: " I think it's a good thing overall so people can get that music that is on their one destination available in the cloud as they call it and be able to access that content on their local device. " And industry watchers say it will come down to that- devices. Consumers tied to Android will likely take a good look at Google Music, but with iTunes ingrained in today's culture, Google has to hit just the right note. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.