How Google Music Beta Could Make Users Go Gaga

What’s Google’s new cloud-based music service got in common with Lady Gaga? Word of a forthcoming ad shot recently in NYC and pairing the tech and fame monsters might offer clues.

Lady Gaga


Update: Gaga’s commercial for Google Chrome aired during the season finale of Saturday Night Live on–she was the musical guest, and she tweeted a heads up to her “little monsters.”–May 21, 2011

At Google‘s recent I/O conference, the company unveiled Google Music Beta, a cloud-based music service that enables users to store songs in a digital locker and stream them to any Android device–phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops. Google’s entry takes direct aim at Amazon, which launched a similar service in March, and adds yet another competitor to Apple. Google reportedly did not wait for a deal with music labels. But in an attempt to crash a crowded (not to mention iTunes-addicted) marketplace, the company may soon turn to a Monster for help: Lady Gaga.

We’ve heard whispers about Gaga spending several hours shooting a commercial for Google in New York–just before the launch of Google Music. It’s hard not to connect the dots and imagine a possible partnership between Gaga and Google for cross-promotion–wouldn’t be the first time, actually.

Let’s not underestimate the potential scope of such a creative pairing. Gaga doesn’t do too many cameos. The Lady likes control. She serves as creative director at Polaroid, where she helps oversee design and has partnered with HP and Monster in the past to move a slew of signature devices.

To make Google Music Beta work, the company could use her help. No doubt, Google will have to lure away consumers already hooked on Apple. That’s one reason many believe Google acquired mobile music startup PushLife, which enables users to port their iTunes music libraries to Android-based devices, for $25 million. Indeed, during today’s demo, Google showed off its Music Manager, which makes it easy for PC and Mac users to move all playlists, play counts, songs, and ratings over from iTunes.


Gaga could certainly assist in this effort. Reports indicate that the service, which is rolling out as an invite-only beta, will offer users storage for up to 20,000 songs for free. Additionally, Billboard reports that “users who sign up for the locker service will get free music, similar to how some MP3 players ship with sample tracks.” Offering a Lady Gaga album to users for free might just do the trick–she’s a multiplatinum powerhouse in the digital world (millions of MP3s sold, a billion views on YouTube–the “queen of the download,” according to Marissa Mayer).

What’s more, Gaga’s highly anticipated album Born This Way is set for a May 23 release–what timing! At least one report says Google will officially roll out its service on the same day, with some sort of tie-in with Gaga’s album.

And it’s not the first time Gaga has indicated interest in Google. In March, Gaga visited Google’s campus, where she expressed her admiration for the company.

If our speculation is correct, a Gaga partnership will also mark an interesting dynamic between Google and major record labels. Negotiations with the majors for music licenses reportedly broke down due unreasonable demands from Sony Music and Universal, the parent company of Gaga’s label, Interscope. Whatever deal the pop icon might’ve struck with Google will likely be a novel one in the industry–a deal where artist almost supersedes label.


Calls to Google for comment were not immediately returned. (They’re famous for their poker face.)

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About the author

Austin Carr writes about design and technology for Fast Company magazine.