Google launches Magnifier music blog, gives away free tunes
Google Inc., which launched its Music Beta digital music locker service four months ago, on Thursday took the wraps off Magnifier, a music blog written by Google staffers.
The blog highlights up-and-coming bands and artists. As a carrot, Google is offering free tracks for readers. Featured on the blog currently, for example, are Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly; British indie electronic producer Mr. Scruff, and the Southern rock group J. Roddy Walston. Readers who also have a Music Beta account can download free tunes to their lockers from these groups.
Tim Quirk, head of music programming for Google, wrote in an announcement emailed to Music Beta customers that "when we launched Music Beta four months ago, we wanted to help users fall in love with their music again by removing the hassles of digital music management. We're now taking that idea one step further with the launch of Magnifier, Music Beta's new music discovery site."
Google itself got hassled by music labels when they declined to license their catalogs to the Silicon Valley search company. Getting a license from the labels meant users could quickly tell Google what songs they have on their computer with a simple scan, instead of having to spend hours uploading their collections.
But major music companies were afraid that many collections would contain vast amounts of pirated songs and insisted that Google put safeguards in place to prevent ill-gotten tunes from leaking into digital lockers. Unable to reach an agreement, Google launched its service without licenses, as did Amazon.com.
But that was then. Magnifier seems more about getting more users jazzed about the Music Beta locker service. Quirk wrote: "You can add any or all of the songs to your Music Beta library instantly. You can do this for free. The artist is being featured because someone on our team thinks they're pretty great."
And, Google hopes, users will in turn think Music Beta is pretty great too.
-- Alex Pham
Photo: Mr. Scruff. Credit: Mr. Scruff