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New service said to resemble Spotify, but will not offer free ad-supported version
The online music space is about to get even more crowded, if you can believe it.
Google is set to launch a new subcription music-streaming service at its I/O developers conference, which starts Wednesday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal Tuesday.
The company has already signed licensing deals with several big studios, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group. Google will be able to allow its users to have unlimited access to certain libraries of their songs for a fee, according to sources.
The new streaming service, which is said to resemble Spotify, will compliment Google's existing music service, which launched in 2011, but only allows users to purchase individual songs or albums.
While Spotify charges its users a $9.99 monthly fee, it also offers an free, ad-supported version. While there is no word at this time what Google plans to charge for the subcription fee, the new service will not include a free version, according to a report in the New York Times.
A very crowded space
If these rumors are true, Google is going to have plenty of competition. Music streaming is a space that many companies are getting into. On top of services like Pandora and Spotify, Google is going to have to contend with Microsoft, Apple, Nokia and even Twitter.
In September of 2012, Nokia launched a free music streaming service available for customers who own a Lumia handset. Users are encouraged make their own playlists, using the Create feature, which will give them access to millions of songs in Nokia’s MP3 store. When a user chooses an artist or a song, The Echo Nest builds a station around that artist, generating a playlist.
In addition to the generated playlists, Nokia Music app also features over 150 playlists, including some created by well-known artists, including Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga and Rihanna.
Nokia Music also offers the Gig Finder feature, which customers can use to find concerts and shows based on their location.
Then, in October, Microsoft unveiled Xbox Music, which was launched first on the Xbox console, then onto Windows 8 when it debuted on October 26.
Like Spotify, Xbox Music offers free on demand streaming access to its 30-million catalog of songs in the Xbox Music Store, where users can buy single tracks or entire albums.
Xbox Music also has a feature called Smart DJ, which works very much like Pandora, in that it allows users to create instant playlists based on their favorite artists or songs.
Apple is also getting into the game with the unofficially dubbed "iRadio" which is expected to be similar to Pandora, with some slight differences, such as more on-demand features, which could make it competitive with not just Pandora, but Spotify and Rdio as well.
In April, it was reported that Apple was expected to sign its first licensing agreement with Universal Music Group. Universal Music Group and Warner Music were also expected to sign with Apple.
Even Twitter has gotten into the game, with its #music app, which debuted in April. The app helps users find music to listen to through Twitter.
The songs on Twitter #music come from three sources: iTunes, Spotify or Rdio. Users get a default preview in iTunes, and then subscribers of Rdio and Spotify will be able to log in to their accounts to hear the full track.
Meanwhile, Pandora recently hit 200 million users, doubling its userbase in two years. And Spotify has more than 24 million active users and over six million paid subscribers. Since its launch in 2008, Spotify says it’s driven more than $500 million to rights holders and expects to drive another $500 million in 2013.
With competition like that, it is hard to see how Google really thinks it is going to really be able to compete in the space.
Google could not be reached for comment.
(Image source: https://www.hypebot.com)
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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.
Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.
Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.
• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected