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Google launches music search feature – but only in the US

by Scott Bicheno on 29 October 2009, 10:21

Tags: Google (NASDAQ:GOOG)

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When the music's over...

Google offers a lot of ‘free' online services, but surely nobody thinks its motives are philanthropic. The latest manifestation of Google's desire to turn its search dominance into lovely cash comes in the form of its music search feature.

Of course, you could already search for a band name, song title or lyrics on google and get web pages and YouTube clips associated with the search, but as of today - although only in the US for now - you can also find, and listen to, the music itself.

Now, Google couldn't just go publishing music clips without some kind of arrangement with the rights holders and this takes the form of a select group of online music providers such as Lala or iLike (which was recently acquired by MySpace). Your search will potentially yield a link to the track on one or all of the sites Google has an arrangement with and, naturally, make it as easy as possible for you to purchase said track.

While Google hasn't exactly made itself a music provider, it's certainly made itself an intrinsic part of the discovery process for the sites it has chosen to do business with, in return - presumably - for a piece of the action. The concern this raises for us is the precedent set by the dominant search provider influencing the broader market for its own commercial gain.

As it continues to grow in size and influence Google is increasingly being scrutinised by competition authorities. However this is unlikely to raise anti-trust concerns by itself due to the dominance of the online music market by Apple's iTunes, which Google doesn't appear to have cut a deal with.

In lieu of the new feature going global, here's a Google vid showing what it's all about.


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