Posted May 10, 2011 9:49 am by with 12 comments

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Depending on how you look at this, I’m either stating the obvious or going out on a limb, when I say that Google’s rumored new Google Music cloud service will be a dead man walking.


Here’s the reason:

Google is preparing to show off a new music service at tomorrow’s I/O conference. And like Amazon’s launch earlier this year, the company is doing it without the approval of the major music labels and publishers.

So, you have the weight of Google thrown behind this, but you have two things working against this being a success.

First, history teaches us that when Google launches a media platform without the approval of the actual content providers, it dies pretty quickly. What happened when Google TV launched and didn’t play nicely with the other kids in the TV playground?

I’ll tell you what happened. Viacom, NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS all blocked Google TV from accessing their content. If Google does indeed launch a music hosting service, then I’m sure the music industry will just love to work with them and won’t block them or sue them in any way. Sorry, I had an extra cup of sarcasm this morning. 😉

OK, so what’s the second reason Google Music will be a flop? This…

…Google has apparently decided that it would rather launch a reduced version of a music service than none at all.

Oh cool! Google’s trying to enter a competitive space, it knows little about, with a half-baked offering. And when exactly did that work out for Google? Google Video, Google Answers, Google Wave, Google Print Ads, Google Buzz anyone? Without the ability to purchase and download music, what value does this really offer?

I hope Google proves me wrong. I love a lot of Google’s successes–Search, Reader, Gmail, and Chrome to name a few–but Google’s track record for entering new markets, with half-assed attempts at a product, tends to speak for itself.

  • Brad Hill

    Heh, pass the sarcasm please. 🙂

    • BrainDeadSimple

      Wrong. Don’t do evil goes a long way to making things right. iTunes is too fascist, Amazon is not big enough, MS couldn’t image it, but Google will make it work.

  • Gramin

    Did you actually read anything about this service???

    1. The original plan was to allow users to both (a) upload their music collection and (b) purchase new songs. However, since the greedy record labels weren’t willing to negotiate, Google Music is launching with part a only.

    2. The “reduced” service is in reference to the aforementioned part b not being included at release.

    In my opinion, this is awesome. I have a huge music collection at home that I stream over the internet (to my Android phone and other computers) via a third party service. Unfortunately, this service requires me to leave my computer on, thus driving my electricity bill up.

    Overall, it seems like your conclusions are way off. Only time will tell, but my money is on Google.

    • As a developer, I know it takes several failed attempts to lead to something big. You listed all the failed projects but remember, each project (failed or not) leads to new invention. So maybe Google realizes this will fail but they will learn from this experience and who knows what they will come out with next.

    • Yes, I did read the article. Did you read mine? 😛

      Launching a music service without the ability to actually purchase new music is what will leave this as a half-baked offering.

      • Michael

        Who cares about being able to purchase music? The majority of people that have been craving this service already have music collections of their own and would just like to be able to stream them to their devices while on the go. There are already numerous ways to purchase music, that is really the least important component of this service’s functionality. An improved player with more features followed by cloud based music storage service are by far way more important than being able to purchase music from a store, who cares about that, really? I don’t, and most people I know with 50+ GB collections don’t either, get a clue.

        • virgil

          Don’t yooouuu get it? it doesn’t matter that this service actually meets a need hardcore music fans want. Since it doesn’t follow an existing Apple business model, it must be crap. Only Apple can create new market niches and get the unwavering support of the mass media. Everything else gets sensationalist derogatory headlines.

    • inthehudson

      Totally off the mark. The studios will come around. Google Music will ship with every stock Android device in the world. Until there’s an iTunes Store and an iPod music player in the Android Market (that would get a good laugh, right?), the platform is a free for all. Participating in a centralized “easy to not steal” music platform makes sense when we’ll surely be seeing more knockoffs of Grooveshark and Spotify down the pike.

  • michael howard

    You would be right if they were offering music to its users but there not. It is a cloud based storage for users to store music they already have (maybe bought from Amazon or Ubuntu one) and listen to on their other devices. If the users were permitted to share their music then it would be shut down.

  • Kokopure

    I’m hardly convinced this is a service that can compete with iTunes (for the forseeable future, at any rate), but with that being said, I think Google could become a major player in music storage, if not music purchase. Because that is, after all, what this is about; not necessarily -buying- music, but simply having a place to keep it and stream it. Google’s proven themselves more than reliable with my personal documents and files with Docs, so I trust them to be able to handle the work needed to make a reliable music streaming service; whether or not that service will be immediately pleasant or pretty to look at is another thing entirely. It took Docs awhile to get where it is now, and Google, in all fairness, hasn’t experimented (publicly) with music in any significant way.
    In the end, I think it’s a bit of a mistake to compare this situation with Google TV, because in this case the music providers have no say over what is or isn’t “blocked”, and a suit for providing storage space will likely fail, as now both Google -and- Amazon are doing it; any suit against one would have to be brought against the other, doubling the cost. If the record companies were going to sue anyone for this type of service, it’d have been Amazon.

    tl;dr : As with most things Google, I expect something great, given time.

  • I have the same thought. I just don’t think that Google is a entertainment company, they don’t belong to music. There are a lot of great music stores online e.g. iTunes. At least Google music able to differentiate themselves from other competitors, otherwise if they do the same thing, it won’t last longer.

  • Jeramyeggs

    Wow, how is it that any time google makes the news, it has a bad spin on it. Foxconn just blew up, apple, and google both have tracking problems. Yet google gets flack for fixing theirs, and apple props for their fix. I clouds isn’t even here, and they are saying it is better. And the last time I checked, amazon has a purchase platform in their service. How much stock do you have in apple, or are you just a fanboy