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Google launches Music by Google

on May 10, 2011, 8:35am

With Google already controlling how you search for information and, for a lucky few, where you live, it’s only natural that the Internet behemoth moves on to having a say in how you listen to music. Today, execs at Google are expected to do just that when they announce the beta launch of Music By Google at the I/O conference in San Francisco, reports Billboard. Update: Music Beta by Google is now live; watch a demo video below.

The service, hinted at back in June 2010, will allow users to upload their music to an online storage locker, which then can be streamed and downloaded from devices connected to the Internet. The announcement is noteworthy for a few reasons, the least of which is its eerie similarity to Amazon’s Cloud Drive; although, the Google service is only open to a select group of invited users in the U.S. and the song limit has been capped at 20,000. As well, for the immediate future, use of the locker requires Android-powered devices. More importantly, though, the service is being offered without music licenses from the major labels. Even with the unveiling of the project, the folks at Google aren’t afraid to stress the fact that the deal isn’t exactly what they had originally planned.

“We’ve been in negotiations with the industry for a different set of features, with mixed results,” said Google’s Director of Content Partnerships Zahavah Levine “(But) a couple of major labels were less focused on innovation and more on demanding unreasonable and unsustainable business terms.” The two labels in question are Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group, who opposed Google’s scan-and-match style locker service, which would have involved matching users’ songs to a centralized hub and paying rightsholders per stream.

While Google moved on with the service despite major label support, the organization is still dedicated to reworking the service and potentially garnering support from the industry as a whole.

“A large segment of the music industry worked cooperatively and was extremely helpful sorting out the issues of online licensing,” Levine said. “We certainly remain open to partnerships with the music industry for new features and functionality. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long relationship with music and users and helping users engage with music and artist and fans.”

Part of the launch of the service stems from Google’s core mission of releasing a music app. The app’s features include an Instant Mix feature, which creates playlists based on one song, and uses metadata to help compile recommendations for new songs.

As always, stay tuned for more info on Music by Google as it’s announced.