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A content retail and delivery platform has become a must-have for technology companies with a stake in mobile communication. Consumers have an ever-expanding choice of services to choose from. Amazon, Spotify, iTunes, Slacker Radio, and BlackBerry Music are some of the major players in the industry. All these services have unique features and content offerings but can largely be classified into two categories:
Content streaming services like Slacker Radio and Spotify stream music via an internet connection without the consumer ever purchasing the content.
Content retailing services like iTunes sell individual tracks or albums that can be downloaded and stored on consumer devices or in the cloud.
Google Music falls in the latter category. The service will sell tracks and albums which can be stored on the company’s cloud storage service and downloaded to a consumer’s device. The service allows users to store up to 20,000 of their own tracks on its servers and will be integrated into the company’s popular Android operating system. While Google Inc. managed to secure content agreements with most of the major studios (excluding Warner Brothers at the time of writing), the service will initially be available only in the US. Apple Inc’s long standing presence in content retailing and its reach beyond just the US to most Western European countries are key differentiating factors that separate iTunes from the competition; similarly Google Inc. needs to hasten its global expansion to stand out from the crowd and compete with Apple Inc.