Google Launches Music Beta Without Label Licenses

Service can stream mp3 libraries to many mobile devices

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Google is set to launch Music Beta, the company's long-anticipated cloud storage service, at the Google I/O developers' conference in San Francisco today. Much like Amazon's very similar Cloud Drive service, which debuted in March, Music Beta will launch without the cooperation of record labels despite the fact that Google have spent a lot of time negotiating with labels for rights. As a consequence, Music Beta users will not be able to share or purchase music with the service.

Many tech pundits are speculating that Google ultimately bypassed label cooperation in order to get the product on the market in order to compete with Amazon. “If you’re faced with another six months of brutal negotiations and your competitor just launched this, you just get in the market and get a lot of users,” David Pakman, a digital start-up investor, told Ad Week.

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As with previous Google rollouts, Music Beta is starting off as an invite-only service. Users will be provided enough space for roughly 20,000 songs -- 20 times the amount offered by Amazon -- and will be able to stream the files to Google-linked devices with internet access. The service will only work on devices that support Flash, though, which means that it will not be compatible with Apple products such as the iPhone and the iPad.