Friday, 31 May 2013

Google Play Music comes to iOS

Google Music

Google's music streaming service is coming to iOS "in a couple of weeks". Speaking at the D11 conference, Google VP Sundar Pichai said Google is "working like crazy" to being Google All Access to Apple's walled garden.
And not without good reason: the music streaming industry, once the reserve of Pandora and (remember those guys?), has diversified at breakneck speed. Twitter has launched a music platform, Apple is working (and perhaps struggling) to launch "iRadio" this summer, and startups like Bloom are trying to dig out the earth from beneath the established players.
Streaming music is one of the few areas of growth in the music industry. In 2012, digital revenue increased by 9 percent. In comparison, the entire industry's revenue inched up by only 0.3 percent. Digital now accounts for a third of total industry revenues.
As major online players broaden their offerings -- music, video, social, news -- in a relentless hunt for user data, music streaming's reach is expanding.
In April, Twitter launched Twitter Music, which uses Spotify and Rdio to provide streaming music to users and music discovery services based on their tweets and the tweets of the people they follow.
Apple has been engaged in protracted discussions with major labels about a new "iRadio" service. It secured a deal with Universal Music in May but negotiations with Sony Music were reportedly held up by discussions about how skipped tracks are charged.
Streaming platforms pay record labels a fee each time a track is played. At one stage, Apple had apparently managed to bargain the labels down to a fee that was half of what Pandora currently pays. It didn't hold, however. Recent reports suggest that it will pay the same, or higher, fee as Pandora, and potentially also an advance.

In the meantime, it looks like Google will launch its music service on iOS before Apple does. Google All Access costs $9.99 (£6.50) per month and is currently only available in the US. Users get a 30-day free trial, and if they sign up before 30 June get the service for $7.99 (£5.30).A Google spokesperson declined to comment when asked about Google All Access coming to the UK.As more and more companies offer platforms for legal music distribution, record labels have more choice in terms of who they want to work with and who they want to suppress, as Grooveshark has discovered.What's the upshot of this diversification in streaming platforms? In 2012, the volume of illegally pirated music via P2P dropped 26 percent. You can be sure it will fall again in 2013.

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