You know I’m no fan of Google but the writing is on the wall here: Google Music will prove to be successful for Google. I’m sure by now you know about its features with the ability to buy from a computer or your Android phone and it also has cloud features yadda yadda. Putting it next to iTunes, it’s a competitor and both have some benefits over the other but it’s not a game changer on its face. But that’s the misconception.

See Google Music doesn’t need to beat iTunes. Google has an ace up its sleeve that you can never forget about. That little thing it calls Android and it’s 200m current activations. That’s a real number. And for all of the ubiquity that iTunes represents, there’s no Android iTunes app and you shouldn’t expect there to be one. What Google Music represents is Android users ability to very easily buy and share music from their devices. Of course there are alternatives out there but if you’re using an Android device, this will be pre-loaded and come from a name you are familiar with and trust. In other words, expect a good chunk of those 200m users to use it and Android is only going up in usage over time. It won’t take over iTunes tomorrow but it will start to eat at it over time and the chunks get bigger as Android grows.

So why is it a failure for Apple? Apple has convinced itself that it has a unique ecosystem and if you want in you must use their hardware. Fine and all but we’re talking about selling music here not hardware. If you look at iTunes, iChat, iMessage and a lot of other iOfferings they are all consistent – if you want to experience them you need iOS. While that drives people to use and buy their devices it also sets up a wall. In fact, it makes you think about BBM and the way that so many held on to their Blackberry’s over time just for that but as time went on these closed systems have their inherent limitations since people want to be more social and that means opening doors, not closing them.

An iTunes app is not coming to Android.  Google Music will be coming to the iPhone. See where this is headed?

6 COMMENTS

  1. Yeah, it’s gonna come preloaded in 2014 when some of those androids get updated to ICS.
    Other than that, good point.

  2. Well, you fail to give a compelling reason why itunes users would switch to this, other than the fact that it exists which I would doubt is enough reason when someone is already in the apple ecosystem. Sounds like you’ve  been dazzled by the numbers and hype.

    • I don’t think there’s mass defection. But if you’re an Android user you would be compelled to switch since it’s a better service on Android (buy from the phone and it’s on your computer as well). There are more Android devices being activated each day. It’s less to do with people leaving iTunes overnight as it does that they will transition to Google Music and I think for th emost part only a handful of iOS users will go to Google Music but the vast majority of Android users will use Google Music. It’s just a question of mass in the end and Apple is not appealing to that group by not having a native iTunes App for Android.

  3. Eh, maybe! I’ve never used it, so I won’t dare to disagree. But I have a ZunePass and I doubt there is anything to get me to switch. Of course ZunePass is really only any good in English speaking countries, which is a massive failing of Microsoft. So I’m glad there’s Spotify and Nokia Music for those Windows Phone users in other countries.

  4. Yes, I think you’re right on here, David.  People are always looking for how X is going to one-up Y when it comes to the mobile market, and Y is generally Apple.  Everyone is so used to saying how Windows Mobile/Phone will never catch up so whatever cool new thing it comes out with is irrelevant…but you can’t say that about Google.  They’ve already surpassed Apple in sheer volume, so adding a music player like this really just needs to be “good enough.”  Personally, I think it goes beyond good enough, but then again…I like Android.

  5. Why is everyone dissing Amazon?

    I *like* the fact that I can go there to buy DRM-free music, and port it to whatever I want. It’s cheaper than the Zune marketplace, and right inline with the iTunes prices.
    With Amazon running a variant of Android on the Kindle Fire, I would expect Bezos to make a cross-platform play. He was able to bypass the iOS restriction on buying books only through iTunes with an HTML-5 web reader. So here’s how he wins this one:

    Imagine this… you download an Amazon Cloud app on your PC. Then, you surf to the Amazon Music shop on your mobile browser, and buy the music you want. It downloads to your PC or Mac at home — then the app runs a macro transferring your newly-purchased music into your iTunes library, and it’s still DRM-free. Or Google Cloud it, whatever.

    Watch for Amazon…

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