Google Music

Record Exec Says Google Music Is Losing Users. But Is It Worth Saving?

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Users are tuning out of Google Music, the search engine’s foray into music cloud storage, streaming and sales. A high-ranking digital music executive told The Music Void that Google Music is losing users week after week, despite its preferred access to over 200 million Android installs. Seems its lack of marketing, the missing Warner deal, and competition from iTunes Match and Spotify are taking their toll.

If Google needs music to win mobile, it should put its weight behind this product. Otherwise, it’s time to unplug.

Google Music still just seems to be another experiment for the search giant. It has plenty of ways to promote it but doesn’t. It released a mobile web app but nothing native for iOS. Perhaps Google should have branded its music offering with YouTube. At least that’s service people actually associate with fun content.

Google loves to dip its toes in, test the water, and then decide if it’s worth steamrolling the existing players. Shipping a minimum viable product works with software and platforms, but big-name content is another story. You’ve either got all the artists (sans stingy holdouts like The Black Keys), or you’re missing a big chunk and don’t really work.

Google needs loyal Music users if it’s ever going to succeed with its own home entertainment system hardware. Though they’re still only rumors, manufacturing hardware that runs a service no one uses is a quick way to find yourself in a quagmire.

It may be time for Google Music to get serious or ride into the sunset. The choice should come down whether there are deep strategic synergies between music and its other products. If owning a music service is crucial to the future of Android, it should pay off Warner, get their catalogue, and market the hell out of Google Music. Do it while Spotify is still small and while people still perceive iTunes as an old-school MP3 store.

If it’s not essential, Google should feel free to euthanize the service with no shame — it has plenty of other things to focus on, and content’s a crappy business to be in. If Google Music ever took off, you know that every time their contracts need renegotiating, the labels would reach deep into those deep, search ad-lined pockets.