Since the beginning, the biggest drawback to Google’s Android OS was the lack of a full-featured music app. The old player would play music, but that was just about it.
The iPhone’s music player evolved from the iPod — the industry leader in portable music players — so it’s no surprise that the music experience on iOS was better than that on Android. iOS also has iTunes, a complete experience for obtaining, organizing, and synchronizing your music library with your phone. Android didn’t have anything remotely similar.
Google’s new music app was a huge improvement, but still lacked the ecosystem and end-to-end experience that Apple offered. It still fell short.
Google is changing all that with their new Google Music service and apps.
Not only does Google Music now have a way to synchronize your songs to your Android smartphone and/or tablet, you can even access your library from any web-connected computer. But that was just the foundation. Google Music now lets you purchase albums and songs through the Android Market, very similar to iTunes.
Unlike iTunes, Google Music isn’t just a digital song store. As with apps, developers (“artists” in this context) can publish their stuff to the Market and set their own prices — no major label needed. What’s more, those artists get 70% of the revenues — MUCH more than artists get per song from the major recording labels.
Of course, being on a label has advantages (marketing and advertising being central among them). Google Music works with major recording labels, too, so you’ll likely still be able to get
songs from artists that you’re already familiar with through Google’s new store. Even if they aren’t on board, you can still buy an MP3 elsewhere and Google Music will sync it for you.
Lastly, sharing your songs is also new. You can post songs to a friend, a circle, or even the general public using your Google+ account. There, your friends will be able to listen to the whole song — albeit only once — free of charge. Very cool.
Add in some whiz-bang UI candy and Google finally has a music player app that can compete with Apple.
UPDATE: While many of the features we saw at the Google Music announcement aren’t yet available in the app version of the Android Market, pocketnow reader Michael Benjamin shows us how he got around that limitation using a Google+ link: