Google's rumored music service could offer both digital track and album downloads as well as a "digital locker" streaming service, according to a new report from Billboard. Anonymous music industry sources told the trade magazine that Google has been circulating a document to record labels detailing the proposed service.
According to Billboard's sources, the Google proposal outlines a service that would offer traditional downloads, à la iTunes, on a per-track or per-album basis. However, Google would also like to license music to allow users a $25 per year digital locker service which would give them online access to their music library via desktops or mobile devices. The service would scan a user's computer and automatically add any tracks in their library that Google has licensed to their online locker. The service seems to mimic the features of the new streaming service Rdio, though any tracks purchased via the download option would also have those tracks automatically added to the locker as well.
One linchpin of Google's plan is that it wants a license to allow users to listen to a full-length preview of any song once, after which they would be limited to 30-second previews. Additionally, users could create playlists to share with friends that would allow them to listen to each track in the playlist once before being limited to 30-second previews. The idea is that the sharing of favorite tracks among users could lead to increased sales, though labels have been reluctant to license longer reviews to Apple for its iTunes Store.
Industry sources say no deals have been made, and details about royalty rates and revenue splits are still unknown. It's expected that details of how the service works could change as negotiations may result in a limiting of features that Google hopes to offer. Licensing issues have been cited as the main reason that Apple has yet to capitalize on an iTunes streaming service built on technology acquired from Lala late last year.
Source: ars technica