The mythical Google Music service could be on the verge of unveiling as the search monster is alleged to have begun testing the service internally. They call it dog fooding, a tell-tale sign that a product has reached the critical phase prior to release when employees are using it in everyday work to figure out the bugs and smooth out the rough edges.
CNET broke the news quoting an unnamed music industry executive who reportedly said the product was nearly complete. As before, Google is still finding itself tangled in a complex web of music licensing deals, the source added, and has been unsuccessfully pursuing an agreement with four largest record labels:
Google is after cloud music rights and not just for songs acquired from Google Music.
Just like Apple, the search firm wants to create a digital locker in the cloud where users will be able to store their existing songs. Even that, however, requires rights holders to sign on the dotted line.
Eagle-eyed readers could point out that similar licensing issues postponed release of Apple’s rumored cloud songs feature. As part of a rumored iTunes revamp in the cloud, the feature would purportedly augment paid downloads with a new offering where music lovers pay for the privilege of unlimited song streaming to their computers and mobile devices for ten or more cents per song.
In short, something similar to the Lala service, which Apple acquired. Development setbacks and licensing woes have hampered efforts to make it happen, according to the rumor mill.
Even with those setbacks, Apple is best poised to bring such a service to the market due to its marketing muscle, the iTunes ecosystem and the leading status it enjoys in the music industry. Whether consumers would take the bait and rent songs rather than purchase digital files is entirely different matter and up for debate.