I’ve been checking out Google Music — so far, I like it — and also learning everything I can about it. As a direct competitor to iTunes Google Music is an enigma to millions who have never used anything BUT iTunes for music buying. If you want to know what the Google Music store is all about, I gathered 10 facts for you below.
1. Google Music is the official name. No more Google Music Store or Google Music Beta. It’s now integrated with Android Market.
2. It is open now — it just opened yesterday.
3. Songs and albums are of comparable cost to what they cost on iTunes — a buck a song, more for an album, depending on the album.
4. It’s out the gate with 13 million songs, courtesy of four out of five major record labels it’s signed with, plus almost every indie song label. It has deals with EMI, SonyMusic Entertainment and Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group. Warner Music is still a hold out. That’s bad news for all you Led Zep fans. We’ll see.
5. Google intends to eventually have 20 million songs and will keep adding said an exec, exhorting journalists to “be patient.”
6. A streaming service when in beta, the final Google Music store still emphasizes streaming, but now adds sharing at point of purchase over Google+ and other Google+ integration features.
7. It also allows uploading, targeting aspiring musicians who want to upload songs or albums, metadata, art and pricing to Google Music. Artists get 70 percent of proceeds. Artists won’t have to use a service like TuneCore to get into the store, though, as they do with Apple iTunes and Amazon’s music store.
8. It is US only for the time being, allowing one free song download per customer every day.
9. It is free to stream and share songs and albums with google+ contacts on a one-time basis.
10. Google stole The Rolling Stones out from under Microsoft. The band — infamous for selling out its Start Me Up to Microsoft as a theme song — has an agreement with Google to live stream several 2011 concerts over Google Music. Fickle Mick.