Recently there has been a lot of talk around here (and just about everywhere else) about 'cloud computing' and 'cloud storage.' These are more than just buzzwords. What happens in the coming months with these concepts will have a huge impact on the music industry. Is it too late to "save" the record business? Will Apple's iCloud convince more people that music is worth paying for (what a novel idea!)? Only time will tell...
If you've been following along with us, you already know a bit about Apple's iCloud and Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. Now Google has jumped into the fray with their newest product: Google Music.
Currently in beta and invite only, Google Music is pretty simple. The idea is that you upload all of your music from your various computers, hard drives, etc. to Google's servers. Then you can stream your tunes anywhere that you can connect to the internet and sign into your account. It's a pretty amazing concept when you think about it. All you need is an internet connection to access your entire music library.
I have been using Google Music for the last two weeks and while there are a few limitations (it took days to load my collection and there is a 20,000 song limit - which sounds like it won't be a problem) overall I am loving the service. Being able to access my music from any computer is really a fantastic trick. The interface is extremely easy to use and the "Instant Mix" feature, which can make a 25 song mix using any one song you choose, is surprisingly intelligent.
From a user perspective, Google Music is great. It is completely free (for now at least) and allows you to upload and access ALL of your music, whether or not you actually paid for it.
What remains to be seen is if Google's product will be good for the industry as a whole.
Will this service eventually generate any money for record labels and artists? Google hasn't yet said either way if the service will cost money in the future. Will Google be able to negotiate a deal with record labels the way Apple did (buy giving them loads of money)? Does anyone other than Apple, with all their music industry clout, stand a chance of winning the cloud battle? Stay tuned to find out.
Request a free invite to Google Music here and check out this video to learn more: