Music Platform Wars: Apple iTunes vs. Google Music
Recent research from Gartner indicates that Google now lays claim to 52.3% of the smartphone market – more than double its marketshare last year. At the same time, Apple’s hold over the market declined slightly, from 16.6% last year to 15% in the last quarter.
Just take a look at the chart to see how Google is smoking the competition.
The battle between Apple and Google isn’t cooling down anytime soon, either.
Both recently released new flagship products: the iPhone 4S and the Galaxy Nexus.
And now, right before the holiday shopping spree begins, each company has announced some major updates to their music services.
Apple released iTunes Match, which essentially allows you to access your music library through the cloud from any device with iTunes onboard. And Google – which has already had a cloud music locker up and running since May – announced the addition of its own music store, finally making it a solid competition for Apple’s service.
As you know, we’ve already pitted each company’s latest smartphone offerings against one another. (Google’s device won.)
So let’s see how the music services hold up under similar scrutiny, and how the result could affect smartphone dominance going forward.
And the Categories Are…
~ Song Selection: Since Google was able to ink deals with three out of the four major record labels, users can soon access 13 million songs in its music store. But Apple boasts agreements with all four labels, bumping its music selection to over 20 million.
~ Social Media: Using Apple’s Ping service, users can share a 30-second preview of a song with friends through social networks. But with Google Music, users can post a song to Google+, where friends can listen to the entire track.
~ Storage and Cost: Both companies’ services offer unlimited storage for songs you purchase through their respective music stores.
For additional songs, Google lets you store 20,000 tracks on the cloud. And it doesn’t charge you a dime, either. Apple charges you $24.99 a year to use iTunes Match. But since it lets you store more songs – 25,000 – we’ll call it a tie.
~ Music Deals: Google’s giving away a bunch of music, including a free song of the day. Apple gives away a song each week.
~ Tools for Musicians: Through Google’s new Artist Hub, musicians pay a one-time fee of $25 for their own page in the music store. And they can post artwork and sell albums, handing Google a 30% cut.
Apple doesn’t offer a similar service. Instead, independent musicians are forced to go through third-party digital distributors, usually for a yearly fee.
And the Winner is… Google Music
When it comes down to these categories, Google’s new service clearly takes the lead.
To be clear, though, I’m not saying Google Music is an iTunes killer. In fact, for most people already devoted to Apple’s offerings, it probably won’t even show up on their radar.
But now that Google has leveled the playing field, at the very least it shows consumers that they don’t need to get an iPhone to enjoy a unified music experience.
And when you add Google’s superior hardware into the mix, expect Apple to continue struggling in its attempts to maintain marketshare.