Google To Launch Music Streaming Service Ahead Of Apple

Google's version may look like Spotify, say insiders, but it will not have a free version for cheapskates.

More details are emerging of Google's music streaming service. The Internet giant has, apparently, signed licensing deals with both Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, to go with its existing agreement with Warner Music Group.

The launch is expected to be at I/O, which kicks off today but, as the New York Times reports, there will, unlike Spotify, be no free version of the service.

AllThingsD claims Google is making two versions of the service, one audio version for its Play network, which is imminent, and one video version for YouTube, which is expected to arrive at a later date. Why is the firm not working on a one-size-fits-all streaming service? Because it is Google's style to release services into the wild without them being absolutely perfect—the complete opposite of Apple's modus operandi.

The Wall Street Journal says YouTube execs have been trying to get the music labels to sign up to video deals as well as audio-only deals on the video-sharing site.

Along with the existing big names in streaming—Spotify, Pandora, MOG—Google will be competing with Amazon and Nokia, which already has a music streaming service that works on Windows devices. Apple, whose version is more akin to Pandora radio than Google, is lagging behind. Amazon has a cloud-based system, but it is non-subscription and is only for purchased music. The firm is rumored to be working on a music-streaming device, but it is unclear whether it will be subscription-based or for purchased MP3s.

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