Google is “close” to launching its own MP3 music store, Android head Andy Rubin said today. The company has been in talks to offer a music store for some time, but Rubin shed a little more light on the upcoming service today at the AsiaD conference.
Update: We’ve just learned what that “little twist” is: peer-to-peer file sharing for songs, and it’s all legal.
Google couldn’t launch a full-service music offering earlier, so it launched a music locker that lets users listen to their music from the cloud. The record labels weren’t happy with that move, but Google has been persistent in wanting its own MP3 music offering to challenge established players like Apple and Amazon and has been willing to do whatever it takes.
Rubin didn’t reveal much about the upcoming service, but he did indicate it would be a little different from Apple and Amazon by offering “a little twist – it will have a little Google in it. It won’t just be selling 99 cent tracks.”
Google is in an increasingly challenging position now that Apple has iCloud for music storage and will soon have iTunes Match, a $25-a-year service that lets people legally access almost any song in their iTunes library. And then there’s Amazon, which already has a strong MP3 sales catalog, its Amazon Cloud Drive for music storage and the upcoming Amazon Kindle Fire tablet that will emphasize media consumption.
While Google launched Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich last night, we’re not sure at this point if the major software update will help the music experience. And until the company completes deals with the major music labels, all we can do is wait and see.
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