At Google I/O today, the company announced Google Play Music All Access, its new subscription-based, digital music model. With services like Spotify, Rdio, and Pandora already well known and highly regarded in this space, has Google missed an opportunity?
James McQuivey, author of Digital Disruption, writes of the new service:
“Music is one of the most powerful tools for engaging digital customers because they use it every day. If Google failed to make a play for the music business, it would later regret it because its customers would remain forever tied to another digital service even if Google Android and Chrome devices continue their dominance. That explains why Google Play is adding All Access.
The problem with the digital music business is that it is already very mature. Spotify, Rdio, Pandora, all of them have made themselves valuable to users in a way that will be very hard to beat. To compete with existing music services, Google’s All Access experience has to at least be as good as Spotify and Pandora, but unfortunately for Google, there’s not much more you can do to impress music listeners short of making the music free.
It’s unfortunate Google didn’t reach further because it’s in a unique position to do so. The real opportunity is for a blended media subscription experience, imagine a $24.99 a month for all access music, free Netflix-like streaming, two current movie downloads, and a lending library for paid games where you can “check out” one paid game at a time for free for one week. That would be a way to make Google Play media content do more than merely copy iTunes, Pandora, and Spotify; it would take it far beyond Netflix, Amazon, and anyone else.”
Google also announced the availability of several developer tools that will enable developers to create a contextual experience for users. Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst, blogs that mobile services must be contextual — but many companies are missing the mark. Why? “Our research tells us lack of bandwidth — executing on the basics keeps us busy enough. It’s also hard to do — and most enterprises don’t have the right analytics or metrics in place to measure the impact.”