The Official Music Industry Launch Calendar – PLUS: Six Reasons to Be Excited For Music In 2011
In the past few months, launch dates for Spotify, Apple in the Cloud, Slacker On-Demand, and Sony's Music Unlimited have been confirmed. As well, the major court decision in the EMI vs. MP3tunes is two to six months away. If MP3tunes wins, companies like Google Music and Apple will not have to pay extra royalties when users pull songs from the cloud. Not to mention, of course, that MP3tunes will be able to continue the development of their Sideload service.
Everything is up for grabs. Anyone can become the market leader now.
Here's an overview of launch dates and why they're exciting:
Launch date: "In the coming months." [MediaMemo.]
Why it's exciting: Spotify has the potential to change the world and dramatically shift consumption habits in music. It could help combat music piracy in a big way and become one of the most widely known cloud-based music services. It could make subscriptions more mainstream. Did I mention that Spotify could make the URL the universal music format and drive the sharing of music within Facebook too? Despite its failure to launch here, Spotify is a big deal and for good reason.
2) Apple Cloud.
Launch date: "Available as early as June." [WallStreetJournal.]
Why it's exciting: It's Apple. MobileMe, their online storage service, is getting revamped; it could become a "focal point for a new online music service that Apple has been developing for more than a year," writes the Wall Street Journal.
"Social networking would be another key component," one of their sources said.
Apple does everything in a big way. They have the muscle to push music into the cloud and once this happens, they may introduce their subscription service. If this happens, awareness will be raised and subscriptions may go mainstream.
3) Slacker On-Demand.
Launch date: "It should be launched around SXSW." [Mashable]
Why it's exciting: Slacker is entering the market a with a very strong strategy.
With a free radio offering at the front of their service, users will be able to slowly acquire songs and build their collections. By offering multiple tiers of service – free radio, paid radio, and on-demand – Slacker gives users with room to grow.
Unlike other cloud-based music services, the company will not turn new users away once their free trial ends. Slacker is the outlier to watch out for in 2011.
4) Sony Cloud.
Launch date: "This quarter." [Bloomberg]
Why it's exciting: Sony's Music Unlimited is backed by all four major labels and will have a 30-day trial period – longer than anyone in the market. Sony also has a huge cache technology including the PSP, PlayStation, TVs, computers, and eReaders. This gives Sony a large, existing user base to market the service to right out the gate. Major label backed services have been a recipe for mediocrity and failure in the past, but this time around, Sony could leverage their clout and make Music Unlimited a compelling offer. Only time will tell if it's a blockbuster.
5) Google Music.
Launch date: "Months rather than weeks." [Cnet]
Why it's exciting: It's Google. First and foremost, Google Music will place much needed, legitimate search results in an engine that's known to drive piracy. Even though it's 2011, zero and I mean ZERO results to buy music show up in Google for many artists. This is a HUGE step for digital music and it doesn't stop there.
Google Music is rumored to feature cloud-based lockers and may even have a subscription element. Plus, while Apple has the iPhone, Google has the Android.
Google has flopped a few products before, but this service may be remarkable.
Case Settlement: "2-6 months away." [Hypebot]
Why it's exciting: In short, if MP3tunes wins their case against EMI, it could mean an explosion of cloud-based music locker services. Theoretically, services like MOG, Rdio, and Rhapsody could offer their own lockers for users without worry of major label lawsuits. It all depends on what the final ruling says. At this point, the major labels are fighting tooth and nail to ensure users won't be able to upload pirated collections into the cloud and access them anywhere. Stay tuned.