Google Music Store Threatens Apple iTunes?

Google Music Store – Google unveiled its much-anticipated digital music store Wednesday, opening a new front in its battle with Apple iTunes to provide services over mobile devices. For the first time, the company will sell songs on the Android Market, its online site for apps, movies and books.

The service is available over the next few days to customers in the U.S., but it aims to roll it out eventually to some 200 million Android users globally. Some songs are free, while others were priced at 69 cents, 99 cents and $1.29 — the same prices as on iTunes. Artists whose work is available right away include Adele, Jay-Z and Pearl Jam.

The store will feature dozens of free tracks from artists like Coldplay, Rolling Stones and Busta Rhymes.

Google is offering 13 million tracks for sale, from three of the four major recording companies — Vivendi SA’s Universal Music, EMI Group Ltd. and Sony Music Entertainment — and a host of independent labels. Warner Music Group was the major recording company left out. Warner spokespeople did not respond to requests for comment.

Once someone buys a song, it can be downloaded and is automatically uploaded for free into an online locker. The song can then be streamed over computer and mobile phone browsers, including the Safari browser, which comes on Apple Inc. devices such as the iPad. People who download the Google music app on devices running Android 2.2 and higher can stream stored songs or download them for offline playback within the app.

By launching the store, Google is opening its music service widely. It released the service as an unfinished beta in May to about a million people in the U.S. who requested an invitation and got one. That version of the service, which essentially uploaded your digital songs for online storage and allowed playback on computers and Android devices, proved to be a hit: Testers were streaming music on average 2.5 hours every day.

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