Music Beta, remember it? It’s the online music locker service that Google unveiled at I/O in May. But the keyword in the title very much remains “Beta” — as in, not in any way ready for prime time. Okay, maybe that’s a bit unfair, the service does work — it just doesn’t offer much. A new feature today hopes to keep people interested while they work on making it better.
Magnifier is a new music discovery site that Google has launched today as a compliment to Music Beta, a new music discovery site that will keep your collection growing. Magnifier will feature great music and the people who make it, including videos of live performances, interviews with artists, explorations of different musical genres and free songs that you can add to your Music Beta collection. ‘we’ll bring you new free music each and every day. Sometimes it will be songs you haven’t heard of by artists you have. Sometimes it will be new artists we think deserve more attention. And sometimes there will be video interviews and live performances. ’
But let’s be clear, this is a blog (it even runs on Google’s Blogger platform). Each day, the blog will be updated with a “song of the day” that can be added to your Music Beta account with one click.
That’s great, you can’t knock free music. But Magnifier still doesn’t address one of Music Beta’s core incompetencies: there is no way to purchase music. In order to get music into Music Beta, you have to upload your own MP3s. Now Magnifier offers a second way, but again, it’s only for a few songs that Google has acquired the rights to give away for free. Presumably, they’re still negotiating with the labels and rights holders to be able to incorporate either a music store or a streaming service into the Music product, but that’s clearly not ready to go yet.
And until it is ready to go, Music Beta won’t be close to resembling an “iTunes killer” or even an Amazon MP3 competitor. Both of those service offer easy ways to browse and buy new music. Meanwhile, other service like Pandora, Rdio, MOG, and the just-launched-in-the-U.S. Spotify attack from the other end with music streaming.
Google says that Magnifier is a way to “reignite your passion for music”, but it seems more about reminding people that Music Beta exists. Those deals can’t come soon enough for the service.