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Google tests ‘listen now’ ads for music searches




Have a sudden craving for some Monkees music. Google has you covered. Simply type the band’s name into the Google search box and you’ll be presented with three online options. Google Play, where you can buy individual songs for $1.29 each or streaming through Rhapsody or Beats.

Music ads

I don’t listen to a lot of music online, so I wasn’t familiar with Beats. Turns out it’s a new streaming service from the Beats by Dr. Dre headphone folks. Inexplicably, Apple bought the service this past May for $3 billion dollars. The move does give Apple control of two large streaming services; iTunes Radio and the commercial-free, trendy Beats. Apple says they’ll continue to operate the two as separate companies which makes sense because they each satisfy a different audience. iTunes Radio is good for the casual listener while Beats pulls in those who are serious about their music.

Getting back to the Google search ad – it’s a no brainer and should result in massive clicks. If you’re searching for a band, there’s a good chance you’re interested in hearing a few tunes, even if that wasn’t your original search intention. I might search for The Monkees because I saw Micky Dolenz on Mega Python vs. Gatoroid. I start poking around on Google, see the Listen Now link and the next thing you know I’ve bought a ticket on the Last Train to Clarksville.

The Wall Street Journal broke the story and included this quote from a Google spokesperson:

“We’re happy to help users quickly find legitimate sources for their favorite movies, music and more via Google search.”

I love how he specifies “legitimate sources”.

While I was working on this piece, I began typing in different names and clicking different buttons and I was both surprised and amazed by the results. When I searched “Mickey Dolenz”, I was gently informed that it’s actually “Micky” (no e). I got a different Listen Now ad and a long list of song links. Each of these links goes to song page with a YouTube video and search results related to that tune. Who knew? I didn’t.

The Listen Now button is just another way Google is working to make search results more accurate and dynamic and that’s good news for everyone.