As part of their ongoing efforts to catalogue and control every piece of information ever produced by anyone ever, Google has been reportedly courting several record labels to come onboard their new music service which will challenge Apple’s iTunes.
According to Billboard.biz, the service will include both an iTunes-style a la carte download service, as well as a subscription version that charges $25 per month for a “locker” that will allow customers to store music online and then either download it or stream it to any number of digital devices.
Google locker subscribers would have the additional option of having their purchases transferred directly to their cloud-based account. And the company is seeking the right to provide each customer with the ability to listen to a full-track stream of every song once — as Lala.com did before it was acquired in December by Apple — after which the customer would be limited to a 30-second sample of that song.
The locker would also have social networking features, such as allowing users to send playlists to fellow subscribers, entitling those users to listen to each song in its entirety once. Google would make available a web-based music player and a mobile application for playback of tracks from the cloud-based locker.
Google is seeking an initial three-year licensing agreement from the labels for each territory it launches its music service, although sources say they don't know where — or when — the service will be launched first.
There seem to be plenty of issues left to resolve: what the profit-sharing scheme would be like, how much the service would cost and what part songs downloaded from P2P networks will play in user’s “lockers.” Things still seem extremely preliminary, but we’ll keep following this one.