Dave Winer just posted a totally unsubstantiated rumour that Google is going to pull out an iTunes-style music store, complete with RSS. He claims:
I’ve been hearing rumors that Google is readying an iTunes-clone, based on RSS 2.0, and fully podcast-capable. Multiple sources on this one.
Winer is a reasonably connected guy, so perhaps there’s a little more guts behind this rumour than most? I guess the RSS feed will be for new tracks. E.g. subscribe to new tracks by genre or artist, so you know when new releases are available to buy?
The big question is will Google go pay-per-song (a-la iTunes), or subscription (a-la Yahoo)? I can’t see Google wanting to get into the whole DRM side of the subscription model (e.g. songs expire if you stop subscribing), so I’m hoping they’ll pull a fast one and undercut iTunes on a per-song pricepoint. Or better yet, a per-megabyte model like AllofMP3.com (but more legal).
The Street has a bit more speculation on this, suggesting that Google is actually planning to team up with iTunes in some manner. No idea whether this is just returning search results that point to iTunes, or in fact offering purchases and downloads direct from Google.
There’s “speculation of an iTunes launch,” says Paul Foster, an options strategist at Theflyonthewall.com. “Google is going to offer iTunes somehow on their platform,” according to the rumor, he says.
It’s been a long time coming (4 months by my reckoning), but this rumour has been borne out, albeit in the slightly watered-down linking-to-iTunes mode.
Update 3 (Jan 27th 2006): And again, the rumour comes up in the form of some random analyst prediction. I’m not sure if this latest ‘prediction’ bears any more weight in light of the video store move.
“We believe that Google is in the midst of creating its own iTunes competitor, which we’ve dubbed ‘Google Tunes’,” the analyst wrote in a client note issued today. “We think this is a logical step, now that the nascent Google Video product has been introduced.”