By Ryan Bradley, senior editor
FORTUNE -- After months of buildup, on Wednesday Google announced a new, subscription-based streaming music service called Google Play Music All Access. The name may be clunky, but the offerings appear bountiful.
Google (GOOG) secured deals with three of the four major record labels—Universal Music, Sony, and Warner Music Group. Fortune reported in March on the Warner deal, and the plans from YouTube to launch a similar streaming service. Google Play Music All Access is, as its name suggests, built atop Google Play for Android, which previously existed as a digital locker for music. All Access merges users' current Play collections with access to millions of additional songs, for $9.99 a month.
Google is offering a 30-day free trial and, in a bid to reward early adopters, if you sign up by June 30th, after the trial ends, All Access will cost $7.99 a month.
While Google's service seems a direct shot at other subscription-based streaming music providers, like Spotify and Rdio, it is also a direct shot at Apple (AAPL), which has long been rumored to be planning a streaming service on its iTunes store. That Google managed to ink deals with the major labels -- companies that Apple has had a long relationship with -- and launch before Apple was clearly a point of pride at the company's Mountain View headquarters, where the company announced the service at Google I/O, its developer's conference. Google called it "radio without rules" and "your personal library, blended with ours" and repeatedly touted the power of "Google powered recommendations" behind a music discovery engine.
Google Play Music All Access launches Wednesday. (You can sign up here.) What will be fascinating to watch, in the coming months, is not just how Google's competitors respond, but what YouTube offers in music. After all, YouTube is currently the biggest music site on the Internet, and it gives its content away for free. When so much music is so readily available for free, what is it that makes people willing to pay for a service such as All Access?
First Bloomberg, now Reuters, have boiled Apple down to a two-word editorial formula.
FORTUNE -- How do you describe a company that grew like gangbusters but has entered a patch of slower growth?
Some desk editors at the business news services have hit on what they seem to think is the perfect phrase: Apple (AAPL) is "losing steam."
Last week it was Bloomberg News with this headline:
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The Apple faithful are getting restless for new products.
By Kurt Wagner, reporter
FORTUNE -- As if a plunging stock price, slowing earnings growth, and customer-service woes in China weren't enough, Apple hasn't released a new product since October, when it released the iPad Mini. In three of the past four years, Apple has held a signature new-product event in March, but not this year. Were the company to wait until MOREApr 2, 2013 7:23 AM ET
A "break even" line item is suddenly generating more than $2 billion in profits per year.
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Exclusive: Google is planning to roll out a music streaming service to capitalize on the power of YouTube.
By Ryan Bradley and Jessi Hempel
FORTUNE -- YouTube, the world's largest digital repository of streaming media, will launch a subscription music service later this year. The service has its own negotiating team and operating unit but will likely have some overlap with new features also rumored to be coming to Google's Android MOREMar 5, 2013 10:35 AM ET
Apple's CEO Tim Cook didn't bring up the company's most talked-about rumors. And that may be very telling.
FORTUNE -- Listening to a Tim Cook interview is like watching an old episode of Seinfeld. Nothing really happens, so the trick is to interpret the nothingness.
For example, Cook said nothing in his appearance Tuesday morning at a Goldman Sachs (GS) conference in San Francisco about whether or not Apple (AAPL) will produce MOREAdam Lashinsky, Sr. Editor at Large - Feb 12, 2013 1:48 PM ET
Also: Carl Icahn nabs a 10% stake in Netflix; Path comes to the iPad.
How hurricane Sandy slapped the sarcasm out of Twitter [THE NEW YORK TIMES]
At my home in suburban New Jersey, a 30-foot limb dropped down at 4 p.m., so the illusion that this was an event happening to someone else quickly dissipated. And at 8 p.m., just when we hunkered down in front of the big screen, the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 1, 2012 8:01 AM ET
You probably haven't heard of it, but Echo Nest powers products from the likes of Spotify, Vevo, and MTV.
By Rob Walker, contributor
FORTUNE -- It began with an argument. Tristan Jehan and Brian Whitman met as Ph.D. candidates at MIT's Media Lab. Both were amateur musicians passionate about the ways technology might recommend songs based on a listener's tastes. Both were convinced that "collaborative filtering," a trendy means of achieving MOREOct 18, 2012 5:00 AM ET
So why would it bother to roll its own Internet radio service?
FORTUNE -- Once Apple (AAPL) approached the music publishers about licensing their content for an Internet radio service like Pandora's (P) -- one that would stream music customized to iTunes users' taste -- it didn't take long for the news to leak to the press. The Wall Street Journal had the story Thursday evening and before Barack Obama had MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 7, 2012 6:23 AM ET
No tax, no shipping charge. The catch: Walmart wants your e-mail and home address
FORTUNE -- If you buy a lot of iPhone apps or iTunes music, Apple (AAPL) gift certificates are almost as good as cash.
Indeed, there's a lively trade in iTunes gift cards on eBay (EBAY), where a $100 certificate will fetch anywhere from $82 to $109.99 on a Buy It Now basis.
Now, as The Verge notes in its MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 20, 2012 7:20 AM ET
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