Google has turned on the music at its new online store, aiming take the lead from Apple and Amazon.com Inc in audio entertainment distribution.
will offer more 13 million songs from artists on Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI, and the global independent rights agency Merlin as well as over 1,000 independent labels including Merge Records, Warp Records, Matador Records, XL Recordings and Naxos. Google has also partnered with the world's largest digital distributors of independent music including IODA, INgrooves, The Orchard and Believe Digital. However, the service will not feature tracks from Warner Music.
Google Music will let users access music from various Internet-connected devices and easily share tracks with friends. The search and information giant encodes tunes as 320Kbps MP3s, surpassing Apple's iTunes and other digital music sellers.
Users will be able to purchase individual songs or entire albums right from their computer or their Android device and they'll be added instantly to their Google Music library, and accessible anywhere. Google Music will automatically sync a users' music library - both purchases and uploads - across all his or her devices.
The service will be also integrated with Android Market, the company's online store for smartphone apps and videos.
Google will also allow users to share purchased songs with friends on the Google+ social network. The feature will give users of Google+ a "free, full-play" of songs purchased by their friends.
Google also announced the Google Music artist hub, which allows any artist who has all the necessary rights can distribute his or her own music on the Google Music 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.
Starting today, Google Music is open in the U.S. at market.android.com, and over the next few days, Google will roll out the music store to Android Market on devices running Android 2.2 and above. You can also pick up the new music app from Android Market and start listening to your music on your phone or tablet today.
Google's rival Facebook, the world's largest social network, unveiled a tab in September through which music services like Spotify, Rdio and MOG enable Facebook users to share music. Amazon has also long been a major music retailer and has a music locker service.