Google Music Rumors: Labels Happy About iTunes Alternative?

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Reuters has it on authority from “people familiar with the matter,” that Google wants to get its long-rumored cloud-based music service launched by Christmas. According to these unnamed sources, Google’s Andy Rubin, of Android fame, “has been leading conversations with the labels about what a new Google music service would look like.”

The information contained in the Reuters article about the service itself doesn’t appear to be much different than the Google Music rumors that surfaced earlier this summer—cloud-based music storage, songs playable to any connected device, etc.—but apparently some of the music labels are excited about the prospect of a legitimate iTunes competitor.

According to Reuters:

“The labels have been grateful to Apple for helping to kick-start digital music sales with iTunes in 2003, but they have been become increasingly concerned with the control the Cupertino, California company exerts over everything from song pricing to digital formats.”

Said one anonymous music executive reportedly involved in negotiations with Google:

“Finally here’s an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform. What you’ll have is a very powerful player in the market that’s good for the music business.”

Take this information with a grain of salt due to the anonymous sources and the fact that, apparently, “Google has yet to sign any licensing deals with major labels.” However, if there’s one company that’s been accustomed to competing with Apple lately and indeed has “the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes,” it’s Google.

Getting the music labels onboard may be the easy part. As I said during the last round of rumors, if Google is serious about legitimately competing with iTunes, it really needs to make sure that the service is polished and consumer-friendly right from the start. No beta tags, no incremental upgrades, no confusing legal restrictions–just a thoughtful user interface, plenty of hardware playback options, and competitive pricing. It needs to give people a reason to leave iTunes and never look back.

More on Techland: Google’s Rumored Music Store and Why It Just Might Work