Google to announce music streaming service today?

Internet giant to launch rival service to Spotify, say reports

Google could announce details of a new music streaming service today, according to reports.

The New York Times says that the internet giant may confirm details of the service today at Google I/O, which is their annual gathering of software developers, following months of negotiations with record companies.

It is thought that Google, who will rival the likes of Spotify, Rdio and Rhapsody if they do launch their own streaming programme, have already reached licensing agreements with Sony, Warner and Universal, although there has been no official confirmation of any agreed deals.

The New York Times also suggests that negotiations have been protracted due to the music industry’s frustration at Google’s perceived failure to help combat music piracy – in November 2011, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) accused them of making money from file-sharing and said they needed to take firmer action to stop illegal downloading.

They also speculate that the service will not be free, and will require a subscription fee that is likely to cost $10 a month, and that YouTube – which is owned by Google – is also apparently in negotiations with record companies to launch a streaming service of their own.

Google launched their Google Play service in November, which aimed to compete with iTunes and provide a legal alternative to illegal downloading and pirated music, but it came under fire from record industry body the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for failing to bury links to illegal music downloads and torrents in their search engine’s results.

Google Music was also criticised in January of this year, meanwhile, after users of the cloud based storage system found that songs with explicit lyrics in them were replaced by more family friendly versions.