Apple’s iTunes Music Store has been the poster child for showing the music industry that suing and harassing its customers might not be the only way to make money in the 21st century.
But the record labels have been nervous about putting all their eggs into Apple’s basket, always looking to spread the risk amongst digital distribution services, such as Napster, Coke’s iMusic effort and a number of other largely unsuccessful ventures.
But what would Google bring to the digital music landscape that might tempt users away from iTunes? Well, Google’s web presence is beyond question. Their ability to create an open, searchable and socially interactive music store would be a big draw to the record labels, currently forced to work inside Apple’s proprietary world.
Users could expect a more cloud-based service too. For a while people have been wondering when Apple’s service would go fully web-based – buy online, subscribe online, stream from the web to anywhere, download at will, etc.
The question is, will this be a win/win for everyone, or will this end up being one more stick for the record industry to beat Apple with?