So Why Did Google Beat Apple to Launching a Streaming Music Service?

This is a very good question–and there’s a very good answer.

Standard streaming music services are handcuffed by a lot of rules.  For example, you may be limited in the number of times you can skip songs, usually 4-6 per hour.  Why?  That’s part of the standard licensing agreement with rightsholders.  Silly, I know, but that’s the way it is.

Google chose to launch their service under the standard rules.  Apple, however, will have none of that. They’re looking to build a product that gives users more control over what they listen to, creating an experience that is somewhere between Pandora and conventional radio.  That includes the freedom to skip songs at will, which means Apple had to start their negotiations over licensing from zero.  

Sources tell me that Universal and Warner have both agreed to accept a fractional amount for each song that users sample and the skip.  Sony is the big holdout.

We should remember, too, that Apple doesn’t always create brand new products.  Instead, they look at existing products and services and strives to make them better.

Apple’s WWDC conference is coming up next month.  Will they have iRadio (or whatever it’s called) ready in time?

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “So Why Did Google Beat Apple to Launching a Streaming Music Service?

  • May 21, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    The only thing is that it'll still cost money, right? I wish my favorite music streaming service (Torch Music) had an app because it's free!


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