The Korea Herald


Google opens music store to US, challenge to Apple


Published : Nov. 17, 2011 - 20:53

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Google unveiled its much-anticipated digital music store Wednesday, opening a new front in its battle with Apple to provide services over mobile devices.

For the first time, Google Inc. will sell songs on the Android Market, its online store for apps, movies and books. The service is available over the next few days to customers in the U.S., but it aims to roll it out eventually to some 200 million Android users globally.

Some songs are free, while others were priced at 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 _ the same prices as on Apple's iTunes. Artists whose work is available right away include Adele, Jay-Z and Pearl Jam. The store will feature dozens of free tracks from artists like Coldplay, Rolling Stones and Busta Rhymes.

Google is offering 13 million tracks for sale, from three of the four major recording companies _ Vivendi SA's Universal Music, EMI Group Ltd. and Sony Music Entertainment _ and a host of independent labels. Warner Music Group was the major recording company left out. Warner spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

Google is allowing sharing of purchased songs over its social network, Google Plus. Friends will be able to listen to one another's songs once for free.

Once someone buys a song, it can be downloaded and is automatically uploaded for free into an online locker. The song can then be streamed over computer and mobile phone browsers, including the Safari browser, which comes on Apple Inc. devices such as the iPad. People who download the Google music app on devices running Android 2.2 and higher can stream stored songs or download them for offline playback within the app.

Google's director of digital content for Android, Jamie Rosenberg, took a dig at Apple's online song storage service, iTunes Match, which costs $25 a year. Google's cloud storage service is free for up to 20,000 songs.

``Other cloud music services think you have to pay to listen to music you already own. We don't,'' he said.

Recording company executives said that, although some of Google's features go beyond what is offered at iTunes _ specifically the one free listen for friends, the concessions were worth the benefit of reaching new customers.

``How many people do you know have both an iPhone and an Android device?'' said Universal's president of global digital business, Rob Wells. ``I encourage any new entrant into the digital music space who is going to help us reach a broad audience and sell legitimate songs.''

Mark Piibe, EMI's executive vice president of global business development, said Google's plan to bring legitimately sold music to people in new ways ``can only be good for the market as a whole.''

Although Google and the recording companies hope sharing of songs helps sell more tunes, some observers were skeptical.

Adam Klein, chief executive of discount digital music store eMusic, said that for his customers, buying music is more a considered, personal decision that is often not influenced by friends' tastes.

``A Google-Plus tie-in will not make it a game changer,'' he said.

T-Mobile USA, which brought Google's first Android-enabled smartphone to market in 2008, also was a partner in the Google music launch. The mobile phone carrier said it would offer other free songs to its customers and soon allow them to pay for music purchases through their phone bill.

Google also appealed to independent artists who release their own music, allowing them to upload songs, biographical information and artwork to the store after paying a one-time $25 fee. Artists would be able to keep 70 percent of all sales.

By launching the store, Google is opening its music service widely. It released the service as an unfinished beta in May to about a million people in the U.S. who requested an invitation and got one. That version of the service, which essentially uploaded your digital songs for online storage and allowed playback on computers and Android devices, proved to be a hit: Testers were streaming music on average 2.5 hours every day.



구글, 음악 서비스 시작…아이튠스에 도전장

구글이 안드로이드 마켓용 음악 서비스를 출 시하며 그간 음원 제공 시장을 지배해온 애플의 아이튠스에 도전장을 냈다.

구글은 16일(현지시간) 미국 로스앤젤레스에서 '구글 뮤직(Google Music)' 출범 행사를 대규모로 열고 이를 통해 1천300만곡의 음원을 제공하겠다고 밝혔다.

구글은 이를 위해 유니버설뮤직, 소니, EMI 등 메이저 음반사들을 포함한 23개 독립 음반사와 계약을 맺었다.

그러나 워너뮤직과의 계약에는 실패해 이 음반사 소속 가수인 마돈나, 레드제플 린, 그린데이 등의 음악은 제공하지 못하게 됐다.

구글 뮤직에서 이용자들은 한 곡당 최대 1.29달러를 내고 감상할 수 있으며  소 셜네트워크서비스(SNS)인 '구글 플러스'를 이용해 지인들과 음악을 공짜로 공유할 수 있다.

구글의 자하바 르바인 콘텐츠협력 부문 본부장은 "사람들이 주로 친구의 추천으 로 새로운 음악을 찾아 듣는다"며 "우리는 여기에서 음원 구매 패턴을 완전히  바꿔 놓을 수 있는 잠재력을 발견했다"고 말했다.

또 구글은 대형 음반사에 소속되지 않은 뮤지션들이 25달러만 내면 자신의 페이 지를 만들어 음악을 판매할 수 있도록 했다. 구글은 이렇게 판매한 음원 수익의 30% 를 가져간다.

전문가들은 음원 판매가 구글의 수익 창출에 별다른 도움이 되지 않을 것이라고 입을 모으고 있다.

그러나 구글은 애플이 2003년 시장에 내놓아 음원 시장의 최강자 자리를 지키는 아이튠스와의 격차를 좁히지 못하면 앞으로 안드로이드 기기의 시장 점유율 또한 위 협받을 수 있기 때문에 음원 판매 시장에 뛰어들었다는 것이 전문가들의 진단이다.

시장조사기관 가트너에 따르면 안드로이드를 탑재한 스마트폰은 올해 7~9월 시 장점유율 53%를 기록하며 애플의 아이폰(15%)을 큰 차이로 따돌렸다.

한편, 애플은 아이튠스 서비스로 2011 회계연도(2010년 7월~2011년6월)에만  63 억달러(약 7조원)를 벌어들였다. (연합뉴스)