More on Google music search
After I wrote about Google's new music search feature last week, several readers pointed out that Google already offered searchers an easy way to stream songs: YouTube. Clips from YouTube have been featured prominently among the search results on Google and Yahoo for some time. If Lala, MySpace Music and Google's other partners in the new search feature are going to see much benefit, they'll have to offer a more compelling experience at the top of the search results than YouTube does nearby.
With that in mind, Google is rolling out the first upgrade to music search today: semi-exclusive content. I say "semi" because the content is actually being made available by Lala and MySpace and can be found by going to those sites directly. Anyway, the booty includes new material and free MP3s available for a limited time only. Among the artists contributing MP3s are Phoenix, Tim McGraw and Mos Def; exclusive tracks will be available from Snoop Dogg, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga and Linkin Park. It's not clear whether this will be a regular feature or just a gimmick to get people to try out the new search feature. But if artists and labels really want to draw people into the experiences provided by services such as Lala and MySpace Music, they'll need to keep the freebies and/or extra features coming. Otherwise, what's to keep Google users from clicking on the links from YouTube in lieu of the ones at the top of the page?
-- Jon Healey