Google Rumored To Be Entering The Online Music Business

So, the question is: who's not in the music business these days? Apple has their iTunes Music Store and just recently acquired the LaLa streaming service, and HP just shelled out around $30 million to purchase a music streaming site of their own. Microsoft has their Zune subscription service, and then there's Rhapsody, Napster and a whole host of smaller alternatives. No matter where you look, there's plenty of options for digital music lovers to get a hold of new tunes.

With that said, one has to wonder if the market really has room for another player. But when your name is Google, the market tends to make room no matter what. While Google entered a particularly uncrowded smartphone OS market with Android, reports are flying that the search company may enter a very crowded music service market in the near term. Reportedly, unnamed sources have it on good authority that Google will be soon revealing a "Google-branded music play."

There's no real details yet on what exactly the service would be like. Will it stream? Or will it be an iTunes-like store? Subscription based? Or pay-per-song/album? No one on the outside really knows, but people are already buzzing about what may soon be a reality. Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said the following: "Google is doing this because it has relationships with music labels -- via Vevo -- and because 'it can,' but mainly because of Android. The music experience on Android handsets is far inferior to the iPhone and iTunes, and Google sees this as an opportunity to rectify a competitive weakness."

It's true that Android has no "home" media system, but that's one of the reasons we love it. Users can select their own software to manage music, or just choose not to manage it at all by simply dragging and dropping files as they see fit. Apple forces iTunes onto their iPhone users, and we aren't at all convinced that that's the best approach. We'll have to wait and see if this really pans out, but it's definitely believable. And usually, when Google touches something, it tends to turn out well. We sure hope so; iTunes needs a major competitor in the worst way.