Google has begun sending out invitations with a Spinal Tap reference that lead us to believe there is a Google Music event scheduled for next week. While the notice says little besides that the announcement is the 16 and will be broadcast on the Android YouTube channel, all signs point toward a music store accompanying its recently launched streaming and storage service.
A report last month speculated that Music Beta would soon get an MP3 store to supplement its current catalog and users’ own music collections. While Music Beta received plenty of enthusiasm prior to its launch, attention has somewhat worn thin as consumers have realized the library options are less than infinite. Without a music content store to make purchases from, Music Beta subscribers are forced to find their songs elsewhere, likely via Amazon or iTunes—both of which offer their own locker and player services.
It would be a significant coup for Google to open up shop, especially for its mobile platform. If Google could get Android users to defer to its own offerings in lieu of iTunes, that’s a victory in and of itself. Google Music is also supposed to integrate with Google+ soon, which might be able to boost traffic for the social network and the streaming service at the same time. Certainly, weaving these applications together is part of Google’s roadmap, but we can’t help feeling like users are getting a little impatient while they wait for the G+ payoff.
Of course, the holdup has been Google’s inability to find an agreement with major recording labels, something it’s still working on. The risk of launching Music Beta when it did had elements of its Google TV debacle: without rights to the content, you’re selling an empty product. But if Google was able to negotiate with record labels (or at least two or three of the big four), then a Google+ integrated service would definitely prompt some renewed interest.
Cnet has confirmed that while Google remains in talks with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, it has not reached an agreement with either label. The site also claims that Google has signed a licensing agreement for its new music service with Universal.