Google Music against the competition: is the latecomer any better?

Google Music against the competition: is the latecomer any better?
Google Music went out of beta yesterday. "Finally!" - we should add, as competing services such as Apple's iTunes and Amazon's MP3 Stores have been out there for quite a while. With the rollout, Google Music stands on par with the rival offerings. First, let's freshen up your minds about what the service does, though – Google Music allows you to purchase, store, stream and share your music. 

It also offers some nice bonuses for its users including free song every day and some exclusive content, but comes with one major drawback – it hasn't signed one of the big four major labels Warner Music, and this means that you wouldn't be able to find artists like Aerosmith, Bee Gees, Michael Buble, Led Zeppelin, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Prince on the Android Market. Oh, and by the way, with Google Music you'll be able to purchase songs directly through the market.

We've looked at closer detail at the service in our dedicated at Google Music and Music store overview, but what we want to focus now is on the differences between the other two big rivals – Apple's iTunes and Amazon's MP3 Store. We've summed up the basic facts about the services in the table below, and while there are some minor aberrations, nothing really strikes us as new and contrasting enough to make you switch from iTunes or the MP3 Store that you're likely already using.

But this doesn't necessarily mean that Google shouldn't have released Google Music because of its lack of novelty – the service fills a gap in Android as an ecosystem, and is more of a statement that Google will take care of music on its mobile OS as well. We should also take into account that each of the services complements best its own platform – iTunes for iOS, Amazon's MP3 Store for the Kindle Fire (other Android tablets benefit as well). So it's about reinforcing the platform.

What Google Music truly differs with is that it's not just about the mobile platform, but also about social, an area where Apple and Amazon are non-present. Sharing songs via Google Music happens through Google+, so partly you could also view the service as competing with Facebook to a certain extent. However, a noteworthy omission on Google's part is the US-only support for the moment.

Finally, we should also say that even out of beta, Google Music still seems like it has a long way to go and will continue evolving with new versions rolling out soon. Check out the table below and let us know: do you really need and will use Google Music? Is it any exciting?



1. varsas

Posts: 11; Member since: Sep 30, 2011

...when will Amazon or Google bring the full set of features to those outside of the U.S.???

2. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i would have went with "cant get Green day, mastadon, Bee-Gees, paramore, my chemical romance, clapton, neil young" or any of the others over prince.. lol. but thats just me. :) :) Thats kinda sad, because there are a lot of great artists on Warner Bros. Hope they get that sorted soon.

3. protozeloz

Posts: 5396; Member since: Sep 16, 2010

Same here. But hopefully they tag along, good to see it's going to offer a really nice number of tunes, now all we need is support outside US

4. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Point taken, remixfa! Actually, I'm not that crazy about Prince either, will add some more artists of Warner Music's roster to avoid the confusion. Plenty of great bands on Warner, indeed.

5. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

i missed areosmith and chilli peppers! i am for-shamed!! :( lol. sad, i just bought the new RHCP album a few weeks ago.. lol. good stuff.

6. putes

Posts: 38; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

You forgot to mentioned the real alternative to all of this services, Rhapsody which I think it beats all of them in service and price if you a real music lover.

8. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

if you go with rhapsody's (or zune;s) subscription service, if you ever uninstall or cancel your account, you lose rights to every song you downloaded. and that sucks. other than that, ive used it before since they have a pretty extensive library and it worked quite well. g music is working great. its nice, as soon as you hit "buy" it gives you the ability to play it instantly while it adds it to your list. loving that free PJ too .. wooot :) (i have probably PJ 20 concerts on MP3, but u can never have too many! :) )

10. clevername

Posts: 1436; Member since: Jul 11, 2008

I can't speak on rhapsody since I have never used it, but that's not entirely accurate for Zune. If you use a Zune pass then all the music you download or stream is subject to the term you mentioned. You lose the rights when no longer a subscriber. But you can also purchase 10 songs a month on Zune pass and any other music you purchase as well you keep whether you subscribe or not. . But the biggest reason they are a competitor is you don't need a Zune pass. The Zune market works just like iTunes music store. The Zune software even allows you to sync music and video just like iTunes. Just not apps. So you can buy all the music you want without a pass and keep it just like iTunes amazon and google. And Zune does have all 4 music labels. As an added bonus you can buy or stream or sync music to and from you're windows phone and your Xbox 360-even control it with Kinect. Not too sure why victor forgot to add Zune, considering feature wise its just as robust as the others. Perhaps its because established user base isn't as large as apple and amazon. But it's no small fry. .....damn just realized I came out of that looking like a fan boy :) truth is I prefer iTunes. Oh and prince is the ish! Plays every instrument around, is a rock star and any Beatles fan should hear his performance on the guitar solo for "my guitar gently weeps". Freaking amazing!

11. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

lol, sorry i should have been more specific. yea i was talking about their pass/subscription service specifically. phill colins does the same (and so does kid rock.. lol). I was just speaking of current relevance. Prince has some definitely kick butt songs. :)

7. remixfa

Posts: 14605; Member since: Dec 19, 2008

holey crap!! their "free music" today consists of david bowe, and an ENTIRE recent concert of PEARL JAM for FREE!! 27 tracks of awesomeness! I is very happy :) :) :) free music storage + free music from the greatest band in the world = win with a side of win sauce.

9. Pdubb

Posts: 249; Member since: Aug 08, 2011

I like Google Music. I have been using it for a few months now and I have enjoyed how it has grown. The free songs is a nice touch but the best part for me has been just logging in to any computer and finding all my music. Nothing to download, no waitng just go to the site and there is my music. Even on my phone I choose what I want to be there for offline use(I am not always in data coverage areas). I really do not like iTunes. It has given my troubles in the past. So in 6 months I am going to see if i still feel the same about Gmusic.

12. doubler86

Posts: 320; Member since: Jan 26, 2011

I think what makes Google Music stand out so much is that you can access it from any web browser. So I like the fact that I can go online to my friends house, play all my songs, and if he likes one I could download it right to his computer. Keep in mind I could even use iOS Web browser to play my Google Music Also the fact that they made it really easy to take all your current music and playlist, whether it be on itunes or just songs you downloaded really makes the switch seamless.

13. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

I wish Microsoft would release a Zune app for Android, then I'd be set.

14. bigboy029

Posts: 74; Member since: Jan 03, 2011

Its pretty cool! BUT-I think iTunes is still my favorite service as of now(Just the iTunes store not everything else about it). I think the iTunes store is awesome and they do a great job of laying everything out and letting you find new artists and such. That being said, I think Google music has huge potential, and could grow on me. Just my two cents:)

15. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

PhoneArena, Where is your stat for iCloud "Over 14 million songs" coming from? Why does Apple constantly tout they have over 20 million songs? "Since there are more than 20 million songs in the iTunes Store, most of your music is probably already in iCloud."

16. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Just a FYI - I have 8500 songs in my library, and they are now in iCloud. iTunes matched 7400 of them. The remaining "un-matched" 1100 songs that were uploaded to iCloud were various obscure songs I had gotten while in a frenzy downloading songs in college (e.g., live performances, songs extracted from youTube, crappy rips that skipped too much to be ID'd by Match). They are mostly songs I don't listen to anyway. For me, matching 87% of my library and downloading those songs in 256kbps AAC DRM-free quality is a ridiculously awesome value at $24.99. Oh and I have access to all 8500 on all my iDevices and PCs. BTW, Downloading 7400 high quality music files takes some time!

17. AndroidNext

Posts: 4; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Amazon still has the best service. I can't believe there are many Apple Fanboi's on this site...they stick to their iTunes store. Also worth mentioning is the evolving music industry that is changing the way we consume music from a buy-and-own to a subscribe and get it all model. I don't feel the need to 'own' music anymore with services like Spotify, GrooveShark, and Pandora willing to give me so much for free...and even more for $10/month. Little late to this game press Verizon to get us your Galaxy Nexus would ya? :)

18. vette21man

Posts: 351; Member since: Apr 06, 2011

Wow, way to state, "Amazon still has the best service" without actually stating why. It's not Apple Fanboy'ism to get iTunes Match. See my above post....87% of my music was Matched and upgraded to 256kbps AAC DRM-free music files!! Amazon does NOT do that. In my mind that's the sweetest thing. This part is just my opinion, but I'm not into the "streaming back all my content" deal. Streaming is a data and battery sink. This option is great for those always on Wifi and plugged in, but what about going fishing, all day at non-wifi work, or driving in the car? Don't get me wrong, I love Pandora for its Jazz and Symphony channels that I don't have in my iTunes library. But I use the streamer services for music discovery, not as a total music solution. Then I'll buy the albums/songs I want for keeps.

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