It looks like Google has worked out a deal with Universal, because Google Music is open for business with content from Sony, EMI and Universal, but not Warner Music. Google Music launched yesterday with 8 million tracks from over 1,000 partners and more to come, so perhaps Warner will join the party in due time. In any case, Google Music boasts a handful of features that will help the service to potentially rival iTunes, including integration with other Google products and services, comparable prices to major competitors and access to exclusive material from artists like the Rolling Stones and Coldplay.
For up-and-coming musicians, the most exciting feature is perhaps the Artist Hub, which allows artists to sell their music directly to fans. The feature gives artists the opportunity to set up their own pages on Google Music for a $25 fee and control the price of their music as well as collect 70 percent of the sales. The company is also working on a partnership with YouTube that will enable artists to sell their music via their YouTube accounts.
Google Music’s other features aim to make the service more compatible with a variety of other devices and services. Its partnership with T-Mobile allows its clients to pay for purchases through their T-Mobile bills and, more importantly, access to exclusive material by Drake, Maroon 5, Busta Rhymes and more. The Internet is swimming with speculation about Google Music’s ability to stand up to iTunes and Amazon.