Google to take on Spotify with its own music subscriptions service

15 May 2013

As things get under way at Google’s annual developer shindig I/O, it has emerged that Google is planning to add music subscriptions to the bevy of sectors it seeks to dominate, taking on established players like Spotify and Deezer. It is understood it has already signed up Universal, Warner and Sony, with other labels likely to follow.

The news comes as rival tech giant Apple is still in the thick of negotiations with various labels to populate its forthcoming iRadio music service, which it hopes will compete with Pandora and Spotify. Apple’s negotiations are understood to be struggling around the price it is willing to pay the labels per 100 songs streamed on iRadio.

In recent weeks, Twitter entered the fray with its Twitter #Music service that makes use of Spotify’s platform, as well as iTunes and Rdio as sources.

Last night, gadget site The Verge broke the story that Google will unveil a new music subscription service at I/O later today.

It reported that Google has already signed separate licensing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment for both YouTube and Google Play, which sets the stage for an announcement around a streaming subscriptions service. Google has already struck similar licensing agreements with Warner.

A separate report in the New York Times reported that Google’s competitor to Spotify won’t offer a free tier for its streaming service while the Wall Street Journal reported that as part of its negotiations for the creation of a music subscriptions service an audio-only licence will be created for YouTube users.

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John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years