Speculation, Intrigue Surround Google’s Delayed Cloud-Tunes Music Service

Google’s streaming-from-the-cloud-to-any-device music service was supposed to launch at the end of last year. Vic Gundotra demonstrated it at the 2010 Google developer conference. However music-rights and licensing issues have so far delayed it according to several reports. This, despite Google offering boatloads of cash to music labels.

Now several outlets are reporting that the Google music service it may launch as early as “next month.” The key word is “may.” While the labels are hungry for an iTunes competitor, Business Insider speculates that Google’s service might never launch according to anonymous interview sources:

This person, who requested anonymity, is sure that Google has offered cash payments to record labels: “You don’t get in the game without up front payments, so for sure that is happening”  . . . How long will it take for Google to line the [music] publishers up? This person thinks it might never happen: “I don’t see anyone getting a license from the music industry to do a consumer pleasing personal cloud service.”

One interesting question to ask is: given the headache it’s generating, why does Google need this service? One might have answered, originally, to close a competitive gap between Android and the iPhone. But that’s no longer necessary it would seem; Android is doing just fine without an associated native music service.

There are many users who would welcome a new cloud-based competitor to iTunes and it would likely offer Google another product to build community around as part of its larger social strategy. So there would seem to be several justifications for its existence.

We’ll see if it happens and whether it’s a worthy competitor to iTunes, Spotify and others. Apple not long ago bought Lala and is also reportedly working on a cloud-based version of iTunes.

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Related Topics: Channel: Mobile | Google: Mobile | Google: Music

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About The Author: is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog Screenwerk, about SoLoMo issues and connecting the dots between online and offline. He also posts at Internet2Go, which is focused on the mobile Internet. Follow him @gsterling.

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