According to multiple sources, Google is in final stage talks with labels to open a download store and a cloud based song locker that would allow mobile users to play songs wherever they are. Google hopes to open its new music service before Christmas. Some label executives believe that Google Music will become the first real competitor to iTunes.
"Finally here's an entity with the reach, resources and wherewithal to take on iTunes as a formidable competitor by tying it into search and Android mobile platform," a label executive who asked not to be identified told Reuters. "What you'll have is a very powerful player in the market that's good for the music business."
But before the industry gets too excited about Steve Jobs finally having competition, they should remember that Amazon has massive reach as well, and they've barely managed to make a dent in iTune's sales numbers. Still Google has repeatedly shown its ability to compete in categories dominated by established players.
"If they get it right, it will hasten the transition by consumers from music you have to own to music you need ubiquitous access to," says Ted Cohen, the former EMI digital executive who runs TAG Strategic Partners.