Google has completed deals with Sony Entertainment and Universal Music Group to launch two parallel streaming music services, according to several reports. Google appears likely to make the announcement at its I/O developer conference around Noon ET today. A deal with Warner Music Group is reported to have been completed earlier this year.
Google now has deals for separate music services for Google Play and YouTube, according The Verge. YouTube's agreements are audio-only extensions of its video music licences, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is unclear if only Google Play's music streaming service will launch today, but neither will offer a free tier, according to the New York Times.
Though details are scarce, the pending launch is leaving most industry pundits, including this one, underwhelmed. Not only is Google late to music subscription, no differentiating features appear to be part of the offering. "If Google really wanted to make subscriptions work, instead of simply offering them as a feature most people won’t use - like the music store it opened up in 2011 - it ought to take the time to get this one right the first time." wrote Peter Kafka of AllThingsD.
Still Google's expansion into music subscription is logocal for a company who already owns the world's largest free streaming music service, YouTube, and whose Android operating system powers tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.
Google can take some solace in knowing that it beat Apple to music streaming. iTunes is reported to be planning a free ad supported radio-like music streaming service for launch later this year.
We will be following today's Google announcement live and tweeting @hypebot as the story develops. Look for a summary update post around 1PM ET today