It finally happened. Google Music opened its gates, being the third legal digital music service, after iTunes and Amazon.
By combining Google Music with Google+, the company’s social network, users can now share tracks with each other; an interesting feature that may quickly boost the service’s popularity.
Unfortunately, Google Music is only available, for now, in the United States. Among purchasable tracks, the service is also offering free MP3 downloads on a daily basis.
How does it work with Google+? After you download or purchase a track and save it to your music library, press the “share” button to post it on your Google+ account. Although iTunes’ Ping is similar to Google+, its popularity is way behind the search-engine’s social network.
Initially launched as a cloud service, Google Music decided to keep this feature, holding up to 20.000 songs. A drawback in comparison to iTunes’ match subscription service is that users have to upload all of their songs.
Google also promised to promote artists and their work; they delivered by creating the Artist Hub where bands can sell their work directly to their fans. Moreover, the band can create its own page, establish the price of their merchandise and sell on its own terms (70-30 split with Google).
“Whether you’re on a label or the do-it-yourself variety, artists are at the heart of Google Music,” reads a Google blog post.
“With the Google Music artist hub, any artist who has all the necessary rights can distribute his or her own music on our platform, and use the artist hub interface to build an artist page, upload original tracks, set prices and sell content directly to fans — essentially becoming the manager of their own far-reaching music store.”
Great features for a promising music service that may overshadow the popularity of iTunes sooner than we think. You can download the application here.