Last night Google held their ‘These Go Up to Eleven‘ event where, as expected, Google Music exited its beta stage and became a full service for everyone. Everyone, that is, provided they live in the USA, as once again Google has left the rest of the world out of the equation.
It first hit beta back in May and attracted 1 million users at the time, where it offered users the chance to store their music collections in the cloud and listen to them on the go. At the time it was criticised for not featuring some type of music store, but Google has silenced those doubters with this full version.
Here’s what you’ll be missing. Google Music still offers cloud-based storage of your music – up to a massive 20,000 tracks – and a free streaming service for all existing and new users. Yep, that’s free streaming; no subscription fees here. The idea of uploading 20,000 songs isn’t a joyous one, so provided the song matches Google’s master, it won’t be necessary.
Additionally, the Google Music Android app has been updated to include the new Google Music Store, where millions of songs are waiting to be purchased starting at a cost of 99 cents. Each file is a 320kbps MP3 and comes with a 90-second preview. Google has integrated its new music store with Google+ too, with the option to share complete songs with friends.
The labels said to be providing content to the Google Music Store include EMI, Sony Music and Universal Music, along with more than 20 indie labels; plus an ‘Artists Hub’ will provide independent artists with the chance to distribute their music at whatever price they like. Sweetening the deal for customers is a free, daily download and bonus content such as interviews and profiles. To celebrate the store’s opening, there will be six previously unreleased Rolling Stones concerts to download, along with an exclusive Coldplay concert and a new, free, Busta Rhymes single.
So, Google Music sounds good, but with absolutely no indication when it’ll be coming to the UK, it’s hard to get too excited just yet.