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Google to Launch Paid Music Subscription Service

Google Inc. is set to launch a paid subscription music-streaming service akin to that of Spotify as soon as this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google has signed deals with Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group to give people unlimited access to certain libraries of their songs for a fee, sources said.


Google already has an existing music service, which it launched in 2011 and is part of its Google Play digital-media store for devices powered by its Android operating system. That service only lets people buy individual songs or albums, while the new one from Google’s Android unit offers a paid subscription model to access whole libraries of songs.


Despite internal financial projections in 2011 that revenue from the music-buying service would reach more than $2 billion by this year, according to legal documents unearthed last year, some analysts say actual revenue is a fraction of that.

Google on Wednesday is hosting its annual conference for software developers, Google I/O, where it has previewed new music-related initiatives in past years and it could unveil the new service then, sources said.

is unclear what kind of fee Google would charge for the new service, and whether there would be ads. Google generates almost all of its revenue from selling ads.

The music-streaming market is getting crowded. Apple Inc. has been in talks to license music for a custom-radio service similar to the popular one operated by Pandora Media Inc. Inc. is working on a device for streaming audio through speakers or a television set and would offer a music-subscription service to compete with Pandora or Spotify, people familiar with the matter have said.

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