Users of the Motorola Xoom tablet get preference on the Google Music beta test. Image: Flickr / sekimura / CC-BY

During Google’s I/O conference today, the latest projects have been announced. The product with the biggest buzz appears to be Google Music Beta, a service similar to Amazon’s Cloud Player. The product launch has been not quite what Google had hoped for, thanks to a lack of cooperation from big music distributors.

Google Music Beta service

As announced, the Google Music Beta service will store and stream your entire music library. The cloud-storage library will be accessible from most internet-connected devices. The service will store up to 20,000 songs for free while in beta testing mode. As with most other Google products, the beta test, at first, is available by invitation only, with preference given to Motorola Xoom tablet owners and attendees at the Google I/O.

The music service Google wanted to offer

In initial product development, Google’s goal was to offer a scan-and-match streaming service. That service would have matched each individual’s music library to a global library, and users could stream the music off that library as if it were their own, with a small payment made by Google for the license. Instead, Google sources named Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group as the “bottlenecks” in the licensing process, and the beta has been launched without licensing support.

The future of music in the cloud

Google Music Beta is the second major cloud-based music service to launch in the past few months. Amazon Music reportedly encountered several of the same licensing issues in its attempt to create a cloud-based music service. Apple is reportedly also attempting to create a cloud-based service based on its popular iTunes software. Apple seems best-positioned to create a music locker service with the support of major music distributors, but all three services — Apple, Google and Amazon — will have to fight for their position in the market.



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