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Google Music could launch in early fall

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    Back in May, our own Chris Coplan told you about Google’s plans to take on the giant that is iTunes and now “Google Music” appears to be one step closer. The Wall Street Journal reports that a service which basically allows users to search for, click, download, and listen to songs to on their Android based devices could debut as early as this fall.

    The California-based web giant has declined to comment, and while labels have a lot to gain from a Google-based sales system, none have come forward to declare their support. DailyTech reports that while iTunes accounts for 25% of total music sales (physical or digital), record companies could generate even more sales than by linking their product to the millions of music related searches that happen on Google everyday.

    There is still no confirmation on whether the service will be desktop-based, but all of this is probably just a prelude to Google’s big plan: Beating Apple to developing the first cloud-based music subscription service that would allow users to store their music and video on the web and then stream their content to web-enabled devices.

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    It’s all exciting news, but it comes at a bad time. While Apple has been looking like the bad guy lately (they shut down Lala at the end of May and are the subject of a U.S. Justice Department antitrust inquiry), Google is fending off some bad PR as well.

    The BPI – the UK’s version of the RIAA – is attacking Google (whose unofficial slogan is “Do no evil”) for linking to “one-click” hosting sites like MegaUpload and UserShare. Much like the RIAA,  the BPI also represents hundreds of record labels — both independent and major —  that see their bottom line suffer every time someone uses sites like MediaFire to download an album from the blogosphere’s artist-du-jour.

    Still, labels won’t be complaining long. Just the prospect of being freed from iTunes’ chains should have them rejoicing since other online retailers like Amazon.com, which accounts for a mere 12% of digital music sales, could never dream of producing the revenue already generated by iTunes. So, while business may just be switched from one powerful hand to another, at least consumers have choices when it comes to biting the hand that feeds.

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