MUSIC WAR: Apple And Google Services Coming Soon

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The Financial Times reports this evening that Apple and Google, are on the verge of launching new music services.

The FT report says the services could launch this summer, but we might start hearing about them as soon as March

Here’s what the companies are planning:

  • Apple will allow users to back their music up online, then play it on any Apple device. This sounds similar to the main feature of Lala, which Apple bought in 2009. Apple is known to be revamping MobileMe very soon — today it withdrew current MobileMe boxes from its retail stores — and might be adding free music backup to the service, as previously reported. Apple does not plan to launch a subscription service like Spotify, for fear that it would undercut the very successful download business on iTunes. The company revealed on Wednesday that it had completed a new datacenter in North Carolina which could be used to provide the backup service.
  • Google is getting close to launching its much-rumoured music locker service, which will also let users back up their collections and stream them to Android devices. It’s also trying to get a download service ready for launch as soon as March.

The FT aslo notes that Spotify is close to a U.S. launch of its music subscription service, and has gotten major funding infusions from DST and Kleiner Perkins.

What’s probably happening: the record labels are finally loosening their licensing terms, paving the way for all of these services to launch around the same time.

This would be bad news for smaller digital music companies like MOG and Rdio, who have struggled to convince customers to pay $10 a month for unlimited music streams.

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