Google Music Goes to 11 With Today’s Update, Free
Google held an event today to announce that Google Music Beta is dropping the ‘beta’ and is now a full-fledged service. The announcement was streamed live at http://www.youtube.com/android and it was summarized on the Official Google Blog.
In May, Google Music celebrated its 100 millionth Android device. Today, even while being in closed, invite-only beta they have reached 200 million devices. The service is now public to the US. When the beta was announced it had the caveat that it was “free for now“. With today’s announcement, Google has dropped the clarification and the service is just simply free.
What do you get with a free cloud-based music service? A lot, actually. You can access it at music.google.com or through the Android market on the web or an Android 2.2+ device. You can store up to 20,000 songs in your Google Music account. There is also a free song given away each day in addition to the hundreds of free songs already there. The free service also includes the Music Match service, saving you time and bandwidth from uploading with the Music Manager desktop application. It also allows you to pin songs to make them available offline.
You can buy millions of songs from the service. They have 13 million signed in agreements but only 8 million currently available. They’ll be making the rest available as soon as they can. When you’re shopping, you can listen to a 90 second preview and upon purchase you can download a 320Kbps DRM-free MP3. Google Music also features a number of exclusive tracks from a variety of artists that can only be found on the service.
For its 13 million songs, Google has signed agreements with Universal, EMI, Sony Music, and a bunch of independent labels.
Since Google is making Google+ it’s platform across the board, Google Music is, of course, integrated with Google+. You can see recommendations and share your own. When you share a song that you bought on Google+, your friends will get a free full play of the songs. Another way to find new artists is through the new Google Music Artist Hub, giving independent artists a hand up.