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Thursday November 17, 2011 11:11 am

Google Music brings MP3 store, free cloud storage for your tracks

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Corporate News, Google, Music, Storage

Google on Wednesday officially unveiled its music product, dubbed Google Music, which will let users store songs in the cloud for free and buy tracks directly from the Android Market.

Google's Jamie Rosenberg, director of digital content for Android, said Google Music is an expansion of Google Music Beta, introduced earlier this year, making it a "full end-to-end service."

"It's about the cloud, about the Web and about mobile," he said.

Google Music, accessible via music.google.com, is open to everyone in the U.S. now on the Web and will roll out to mobile users in the coming days. Users can store and stream up to 20,000 songs in the Google cloud for free, and add any selections they don't have by buying them from the Google Music store.

Google Music will allow users to share songs with friends, who will be able to play that song in its entirety once.

Google said it has sealed deals with more than 1,000 music labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI, as well as indie labels, like those from Merlin. In all, Google promised access to 13 million tracks, 8 million of which are available now.

An EMI rep confirmed that the music will be DRM-free.

Google also announced a partnership with T-Mobile that will let subscribers pay for Google Music tracks via their T-Mobile phone bills "very soon," just like they do now with Android Market apps.

The store will provide 90-second previews and all music will be available via 320 Kbps MP3s.

Not surprisingly, Google Music will have a Google+ tie-in, where users can share their favorite tracks.

Google Music will also include exclusive selections, like six never-released live concerts from the Rolling Stones, starting today with a 1973 show from Brussels. The remaining shows from the Stones will be added throughout 2012, the band's 50th anniversary year.

Rapper Busta Rhymes will debut his new studio album on Google Music, and the first single is available now for free. Free content from Shakira, Pearl Jam, and Dave Matthews is also available.

For emerging artists, Google Music will feature an Artists Hub, where musicians can upload and sell their material. Artists keep 70 percent of the revenue and there is no annual upload fees. As part of YouTube's recently announced merchandise store, artists will also be able to sell against their music videos on the Google-owned site.

Google also said it has activated 200 million Android devices worldwide and is adding 550,000 new devices every day.

Reports about a Google Music store cropped up last month when the New York Times reported that Google was prepping an MP3 music store that would connect to its existing, cloud-based music storage service. The report said Google was in talks with major labels and was possibly looking to launch ahead of Apple's iTunes Match, but that service went live this week. Those music labels were reportedly concerned about Google's ability to curb piracy across its network.

At AsiaD, Google's Android chief, Andy Rubin, confirmed that the search giant was working on an expanded music service. "I think we're close," Rubin said, promising that the Google version "will have a little twist" that is uniquely Google-esque instead of a run-of-the-mill 99-cent MP3 store.

This article, written by Chloe Albanesius, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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