Google Music Dropkicks Beta Tag, Aims to Roundhouse iTunes

Paul Lilly

iTunes killer. We're not saying Google is or is not an iTunes killer, but now that the sultan of search has removed the beta label from its Google Music platform and opened its disco doors to the public, we wanted to throw those two words out there so you can get used to seeing them. Google Music is officially open for business and you can bet there will be lots of comparisons to iTunes. So, were the rumors and speculation right on the money?

Google Music is a locker service. It's also a music store. One of the coolest things about Google Music from a social standpoint is that you can share songs with Google Plus users for free, another reason to hop aboard that social networking train.

The locker service is still free and you can upload as many as 20,000 songs and stream them to your desktop and devices. You can also spend money buying music from the Android Market or the desktop store. Pricing, as speculated, runs $0.99 to $1.29 per track, roughly the same as iTunes. Google inked deals with three of the four major music labels, including Universal Music Group, EMI, and Sony. The lone holdout is Warner, which means no Frank Sinatra or Green Day, among others. While Google continues to negotiate with Warner, users have access to more than 13 million tracks on day one.

There's also this thing called an "Artist hub" for budding music artists.

"Whether you’re on a label or the do-it-yourself variety, artists are at the heart of Google Music. With the Google Music artist hub, any artist who has all the necessary rights can distribute his or her own music on our platform, and use the artist hub interface to build an artist page, upload original tracks, set prices and sell content directly to fans—essentially becoming the manager of their own far-reaching music store," Google said in a blog post. "This goes for new artists as well as established independent artists, like Tiesto, who debuts a new single on Google Music today."

And so there you have it. Google Music is live, it has both free and paid portions, and you can check it out now right here .

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