Google Music has finally launched, offering more than 13m tracks from some of the biggest record labels. The services is, as you would expect, fully integrated with Google+, and as a side benefit indie bands can pay $25 to create their own page and sell their tracks at a price of their choosing.
Google Music has been a long time coming. There was speculation before the launch about which of the major music labels would be onboard. In the end, it’s EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal and a couple of dozen independent labels that are getting involved. The most notable holdout is Warner Music Group, which might join at a later date.
One of the most interesting aspects of Google Music is the new Artist Hub, which allows artists without record deals to create their own pages. Google will take a 30% cut of each sale, which is a fairly decent deal.
The service is only available in the US for now and it’s not clear when it might expand globally. It remains to be seen whether Google Music has what it takes to rival the likes of iTunes and Spotify, two of the big names in online music. But having spent so long getting the mix right, Google is likely banking on Google Music growing to become a major success over time.