Apple’s iTunes store has a comfortable lock on music sales. According to NPD Group’s recent May 2010 report, the online Cupertino-based retailer now accounts for 70% of the digital music market and around 28% of all music purchased during the first quarter of 2010. For a company to successfully challenge Apple’s dominant position it would have to be extremely large, say as big as Google. And according to CNET.com, that is exactly what could be happening, as soon as this fall.
According to insiders, Google’s new service would offer both downloads and streaming music. An obvious tie-in is the search giant’s Android mobile operating system which has been rapidly gaining market share. Unlike the iPhone, Android OS is available on a wide variety of phones from a wide variety of carriers.
Reportedly, Google met with leaders from the four major record labels during the Consumer Electronics Show last January to discuss features that a possible service might offer. Techcrunch.com reported several weeks ago it found a “Google Music” logo hosted on Google’s domain.
Reportedly, labels would welcome a strong iTunes challenger to give them a stronger negotiating position in the marketplace. Amazon and MySpace have not been able to significantly weaken Apple’s dominance. Google recently purchased Simplify Media a sreaming, cloud-based service. iTunes bought LaLa last year, a similar company. Clearly all parties are working to launch some kind of cloud based streaming offering.