Google Music is now open to everyone in the U.S. It’s a free service that you can use to store up to 20,000 of your songs on Google’s servers and stream those songs to compatible devices.
Songs can now be purchased directly from the Android Market as well. Google will make recommendations to you based on your music collection you’ve uploaded, all songs have 90-second previews, and purchased songs are automatically added to your online collection and downloaded to the device you use to purchase the songs. Google will offer one free song each day, and there will be a weekly “spotlight” artist with backstories, bios, photos and videos.
Google+ integration is onboard, and purchased tracks you recommend and share will be able to be played by your friends in their entirety—no 90-second preview. It’s not unlimited, however: shared songs can be played once for free. Still—not too shabby.
As for the major labels, Universal, EMI and Sony Music are on board, but Warner Music Group hasn’t joined. There are also smaller, independent groups totaling “over 1,000 prominent independent labels” and more than 13 million tracks said Google. “Of course, we anticipate adding new partners if they wish to come on board,” said a Google spokesperson.
The service features some exclusive content from a handful of popular bands. Unreleased tracks and live albums from the Rolling Stones, Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, Shakira, Pearl Jam, and Dave Matthews Band are available now for free.
Google Music also has a new feature for independent artists called Artist Hub. Artists can build their own artist pages, upload their music, and sell their songs by setting their own prices. Google takes a 30% cut of every sale, and there’s a one-time $25 setup fee for each artist page. Furthermore, songs can be linked to and sold directly from artists’ YouTube pages.
And T-Mobile customers will get a few Google Music extras, such as additional free tracks made available each week and the ability to bill purchased songs directly to users’ wireless accounts.
Google Music is available today, with music for purchase from the web-based Android Market—the music store will become available on Android phones and tablets “over the next few days,” according to Google’s official blog post.