The VICE Channels

    Google's Rumored Music Streaming Service Could Give Spotify The Chills

    Written by

    Zach Sokol

    Would you be willing to let Google take over more of your life? Google thinks so: It's rumored to be creating a subscription-based streaming service that would undoubtedly give Spotify a run for its money. The details are sparse right now, but an anonymous source told Bloomberg that "negotiations are under way with major record labels to license their music." 

    If Google entered the subscription streaming service it would add stakes to an already-competitive space, as Microsoft, Sony, Spotify, Deezer, Rdio, MOG/Daisy plus a number of others already have streaming services. Not to mention, Amazon has its locker and auto-rip, and Apple's iCloud is still a contender. 

    Spotify is still the giant in the room. According to its own numbers, the service currently has over 5 million paid subscribers, 20 million users of the ad-supported version, and deals with over 300,000 labels. It also has over 20 million songs in its arsenal and adds roughly 20,000 new tunes per day. 

    Google, on the other hand, owns Youtube, which is one of Spotify's biggest competitors, though the services represent different forms of streaming. Google once tried to enter the music download market in China with a program that launched in 2009, but it has since foreclosed as "the influence of the product turned out to be lower than we expected," said the company blog. 

    If Google were to enter the streaming sphere in the States, it would be a big boost for Android, as the streaming development would strengthen consumers' ties between phones and music on the go. The Spotify app for Android will likely stick around, as Google is pretty hands off on Google Play, but a built-in Google alternative has an inherent advantage.

    It could also be a boon for record labels, especially if Google leverages music onto a revenue-sharing streaming service rather than the wilds of YouTube. I talked with Simon Wheeler, a press contact at indie label collective Beggars Group, and he said that "three out of our top five partners globally by revenue are streaming/subscription services. [With Google's service] this will only grow." 

    "Youtube is the elephant in the room for sure," he said. "If there were a way to leverage that along with a Google music subscription it could be a serious contender [against Spotify]." 

    Google recently received accusations from the RIAA that the tech company's claim to lower search rankings of sites that infringe upon music copyrights is not legitimate. It'll be curious to see how RIAA's relationship with Google will shake out if the Goog starts paying up royalties. Still, with the power of Google's massive ecosystem, Spotify has the most to lose. It's all speculative right now, but Google's never been one to shy away from diving headlong into new territories, so don't be surprised if you see Google get into the streaming game soon.

    Image via