A new service from Google has launched this week which looks set to challenge the dominance of iTunes, Amazon and others in the online music space. Supported by EMI, Sony Music Entertainment and a host of other music labels, Google Music Store can provide consumers with access to over 13 million songs which can be downloaded and enjoyed through its Android software.
The move is at an interesting time in the development of mobile technology. It appears that the industry is starting to segment, a sure sign of maturity in any market. A research study undertaken by Gartner has found that Android sales have made significant headway in the last quarter, suggesting that approximately 50% of all smartphones sold during the summer were equipped with Android technology. By comparison, Apple's iOS handsets equated to approximately 15%.
With these kind of statistics, the launch of a rival music store seems compelling. Google is making full use of its Google+ social network to drive awareness and support the store. Users of Google+ will be able to share songs with friends without the need to purchase the track.
Despite the new digital age technology, Google is using old school marketing tactics to help launch the store, offering a 'loss leader'; one free song will be available to download every day. Currently Google Music is available to US consumers only - the next few weeks will reveal just how effective it could be on the world stage.