Executives at Warner, which is the first record label to commit to Google’s proposed music service, declined to comment. A YouTube spokesman issued the following statement: “While we don’t comment on rumor or speculation, there are some content creators that think they would benefit from a subscription revenue stream in addition to ads, so we’re looking at that.”
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Google will be jumping into a fiercely fought market for on-demand music streaming. Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve Music, Slacker, Samsung Music Hub, Sony Music Unlimited and Rdio are among the current players slugging it out for dominance. And later this summer, Beats Electronics will re-launch a revamped MOG service, branded as Beats Music.
Google, however, will be coming to the party with several formidable advantages – YouTube and Android.
Its YouTube platform attracts 800 million unique viewers a month. That’s vastly more than the tens of millions of people worldwide who are estimated to be using on-demand streaming music services — both free and paid. In addition, Google’s Android operating system powered 68.4% of all smartphones shipped globally in 2012, compared with 19.4% for Apple’s iOS, according to Strategy Analytics.