There are multiple reports pointing towards something very interesting happening today at Google I/O, the company's annual gathering of software developers. The whispers are that Google will unveil its streaming music service.
The service will be subscription-based and connected to Play, which Google's online media centre. This no doubt greatly pisses off people in Cupertino who have been pushing hard to get all the licensing agreements in place for a similar service for Apple's iTunes.
Apple is close to reaching a licensing deal with all the major players. The only holdout is Sony, who, like Google, takes great pleasure in causing Apple pain. If this rumour is true, expect to see plenty of articles saying things like "Apple blew it" and "Apple is on the decline."
This is another step down the road towards access over possession. Why go through the trouble of physically acquiring and maintaining a music library (even a digital one) when you can access all the music you want--more than you could ever afford to buy--for just pennies a day?
And while it's true that the vast majority of current subscribers to streaming services are classified as "inactive," these are just growing pains. While many of us--including me--never see a day when we won't own music in some form, the allure of being able to get what you want, when you want it, wherever you happen to be on what device you happen to have will prove to be infectious.
I'm involved in something later today that is along these same lines. An announcement tonight.