Headbangers’ Brawl is a weekly column where Metal Insider’s Bram and Zach take a moment to debate and analyze two opposing sides of a topical issue occurring in the world of metal and/or the music industry.
Though a beta version of Google’s cloud service has been out since this past Summer, Google Music officially launched this past Wednesday (November 16). Featuring its own cloud, online store, and a new feature for unsigned bands called “Artists Hub,” Google has now made a major step towards competing against the almighty iTunes. So with Google Music now available for everyone, Bram and Zach share their thoughts on Google’s music service thus far.
Zach: Unfortunately, my experience with Google Music is starting on a sour note. I’ve been attempting to upload my iTunes library to the service since Thursday morning. My iTunes library only consists of about 3,500 songs (limited iPod space), so it shouldn’t take too long to upload, right? Well guess what: I still haven’t even crossed the 1,000 mark! Granted, I stupidly forgot that my computer automatically goes to sleep after a half an hour of nonuse (thus I couldn’t let it run during the night). But it’s still taking an absurdly long time to get the job done! I know that this was an issue with the beta version, but you’d think that Google would’ve fixed the issue before officially launching…right?!
With that said, though, I have been able to play around with Google Music with the songs that have been uploaded so far. And I have to admit, it’s pretty cool. I especially like the ability to be able to edit uploaded songs in Google Music (something that Amazon Cloud doesn’t allow, or at least I haven’t been able to figure out). It’s a sleek program that also works really well on my Android. And while I haven’t bought any songs yet from Google, its music store is also pretty neat and has a good selection. So imagine how much better it’ll be once they strike a deal with Warner Music Group.
Bram: I’ve had a beta version of the service since this Summer, and it’s pretty cool in my somewhat limited use. Once the music – which admittedly takes forever to load – is loaded, it’s a pretty seamless user experience. It also automatically detects when you download music to any of your computers and can easily add the songs that you’ve downloaded. The main problem, and this isn’t really a problem, is that I don’t have an Android device. Since it’s a deliberate shot at Apple, it’s awkward to run on an iPhone. And on a desktop, it has to compete with iTunes, YouTube, Spotify, and oh yeah, WORK.
It looks like the one thing that might benefit from Google Music is Google+ and the ability to share music through it, but let’s be honest, Google + isn’t a Facebook killer yet. What might get some people into the service is if there are some really good music curators. For example, if Mastodon decided to share a ‘pick of the week’ to all their followers, it might be a good way to find out about a new band. It’s still in its infancy stages right now, and has plenty of room for growth. It’s really a wait and see approach with Google. I’m sure they’ll eventually get Warner on board, but they need to take some strides to become as accepted in the music circle as they are in the search engine one.