Google has officially unveiled its answer to Apple’s iTunes, offering Fandroids the ability to access their favourite music anywhere on the go.
The imaginatively dubbed Google Music will go head to head with Apple’s service with some 13 million tracks available to download from some of the biggest players in the industry, including Universal, Sony Music and EMI, plus many independent labels.
Songs will be encoded in MP3 at CD quality 320Kbps bitrate and priced exactly as they are on iTunes for 69 cents to $1.29.
Conspicuously, Warner Music is absent from the list of launch partners, which happens to be third largest recording group out there and home to artists such as Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Frank Sinatra and Led Zeppelin.
It’s unclear whether negotiations to bring Warner on board are still underway. However, Gartner analyst Mike McGuire believes Google will have to move fast if it’s to have any impact on the competition.
"They've got to get that [music] catalog filled pretty quickly," said McGuire, adding that "it's a launch, but it's kind of like a work-in-progress."
However, Google has an ace up its sleeve to set its effort apart from rivals. In addition to offering music to download, it will also be offering free cloud storage to users to upload up to 20,000 of songs they already own and access on any compatible device.
The service will also get exclusive content from artists such as Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, The Rolling Stones, Peal Jam and Dave Matthews Band.
Alas, Google Music has yet to make its debut in the UK. However, it shouldn’t be too far behind provided the US launch goes smoothly.
Those living in the US can access the service right now by visiting the Android Market website and the directly on devices running Android 2.2 or higher in the next few days.