Introducing Google Music

Last May at Google I/O, launched Music Beta by Google with a clear ambition: to help people access their music collections easily from any device. Music Beta enabled you to upload your personal music collection (up to 20,000 songs) for free to the cloud so you could stream it anywhere, any time. Today, the beta service evolves into a broader platform: Google Music. Google Music is about discovering, purchasing, sharing and enjoying digital music in new, innovative and personalized ways.

Google Music (formerly known as Music Beta by Google) is an online music streaming service and online music store that was announced on 10 May 2011 at the Google I/O conference. The service supports streaming music to desktop browsers and Android phones and tablets, or any other device that can use the Adobe Flash platform.

Music supports storing of up to 20,000 songs for free. At launch, the service was available through invitation to US residents only, but it is now open to the public, but still only for US residents. Along with its music store, Music also supports uploading a user’s own music for streaming purposes. Music also allows for automatic caching for offline play on mobile devices.

According to the official Google blog, users “can use a feature called Instant Mix to create a playlist of songs that go well together.” Music imported from iTunes will retain playlists as well.

Music was first hinted at at the 2010 I/O Conference, where Google Senior Vice-President of Social Vic Gundotra showed a “Music” section of the Android Market that would allow users to download music through the market. In June 2010, a user discovered a logo that said “Google Music” on Google’s servers, but it was later deleted.

Music purchasing features were absent when Music launched in 2011. Jamie Rosenberg, the overseer of digital content and strategy for Google, told All Things Digital that “a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms,” which led Google to make Music a standalone streaming service.

On 16 November 2011, Google introduced a new version of Music with a music store, Google+ integration, artist hubs, and purchasing reflected on T-Mobile phone bills. The three major label partnerships announced were with Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony Music Entertainment, among other smaller labels. The store is now available both online and on Android devices through the Android Market application.