While 60 percent of record sales are still based on CD sales, the digital market is definitely the place to go for the current collegiate generation. With services like Apples iTunes and Amazon’s MP3 Store, buying music has never been easier.
At the same time, illegally downloading music could be just as easy, if not easier, than purchasing singles or albums from an online merchant. And where’s the first place to go if someone wanted to download copyrighted material for free?
There does seem to be an inherent issue with the Internet search engine conglomerate attempting to market its own MP3 music store in the upcoming weeks when it happens to be the biggest weapon against the music industry.
If and when Google does launch its music store to compete with the likes of Spotify, iTunes and Amazon MP3, it plans to use the new social networking tool, Google+, to boost interactivity and profitability in the digital marketplace.
Using Google+, the service hopes to allow for online “likes” or “+1s” to dictate what music consumers should purchase. The input of friends and Internet searches could also affect the buying process and the addition of being able to listen to the song in its entirety one time for free will also reinforce the decision-making process. After a song is purchased, the Google store will allow the new music owner to have a limited ability to share, peer-to-peer, the music that has just been bought.
The store would not charge for online archiving of tracks that you already own, unlike the iTunes equivalent iTunes Match, which will charge $24.99 for a storage service.
This “consumer-first” approach is weakening Google’s ability to get record companies to sign onto the new platform. Companies fear that, with both a peer-to-peer file sharing network and no desire to charge for the online storage service, copyrights could be infringed. They have no intention of losing any more revenue thanks to Google.
The question at hand is: Can Google’s music platform compete with the already established iTunes and Amazon MP3 music stores?