November 17, 2011

Google’s Cover Band

Uh oh. Looks like Google Music showed up to the party wearing the same outfit as iTunes. Unfortunately for Google, the outfit looks better on iTunes. Not to mention Google brought the less attractive date (Google+).


For anyone who isn’t aware, Google recently launched its much anticipated digital music application, Google Music (original name, I know). Finally another music marketplace to rival iTunes – sounds great. But what makes Google Music different? Well, song costs are comparable to iTunes and the layout isn’t anything new. And unfortunately Google wasn’t able to get Warner Music Group to sign on the dotted line, which leaves a huge hole in their music offering (Cher, Cee Lo, Diddy, Green Day, Van Halen, to name a few). But Google knew all of this before launch, so I was curious to see how it would position itself in order to get consumers excited.


So what does make Google Music stand out? The short answer is:  Nothing. After taking a look around the application, Google Music seems to be positioning itself as the “instant-anywhere, shareable music place.” It sounds accurate, but is it unique? Let’s take a look.


  1. Instant-anywhere – This is no longer ownable. Although it’s extremely important, the ability to download songs and instantly listen on any device has become an expected feature. As a player 8 years late to the game, it’s unrealistic for Google Music to position itself around this idea.
  2. Shareable – This is a more interesting approach. iTunes is not known for being a social proponent, so there is some opportunity here. Google Music does have some cool share features; however, everything links to Google+, which has been a social wasteland since its launch. It also doesn’t help that Facebook’s strong partnership with Spotify seems to be changing the way people share and discover music.


All in all, Google Music isn’t giving consumers a strong enough reason to switch to their services –  just an eerily similar alternative. They have a foundation, now they just need to find their niche and own it.


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