updated 09:30 pm EDT, Wed August 17, 2011
Google Magnifier hopes to spark life in Music Beta
Google sought to bring the limelight back to Music Beta once more late Wednesday with the appearance of its Magnifier blog. The page will highlight artists, ranging from interviews to genre delves and videos of live events. As an incentive to keep visiting, though, it plans to offer free songs every day that will automatically head to a listener's Music Beta cloud for listening elsewhere.
The initial appearance will give two free tracks from My Morning Jacket.
Adoption rates for Music Beta have never been given out. Magnifier suggests that relatively few have taken up the invite-only serivce in spite of Android's stature in mobile and the web-based approach to listening on the desktop. While Google doesn't have a store of its own after fights with labels, the giveaways may be an attempt to replicate the models set forward by Apple's iTunes and Amazon MP3. Both shops started giving away free tracks on a frequent basis early into their histories and kept listeners coming back.
Its timing is also noteworthy as Apple gets nearer to its promised fall release for iTunes Match and iTunes in the Cloud. Match may face resistance to its $25 yearly subscription but could start out healthier through both its attachment to a full-fledged music store as well as getting access to most songs without having to upload them first like Google's service requires. Music Beta doesn't have a roadmap for exiting beta and is dependent on Google's willingness to charge for service. Labels believe streaming music a user owns constitutes a second use and have asked for extra compensation that so far only Apple has been willing to give.