It looks like Google might jump into the music sales business, as people familiar with the matter say that Google is planning on opening an online music store in the near future.
Of course, this would put them in direct competition with Apple's iTunes store as well as Amazon.
According to the WSJ, Google might have to launch the service without having reached licensing agreements with the top three record labels. Apparently, the only label that Google is close to reaching a deal with to license their catalog in EMI, which is owned by CitiGroup. EMI is the 4th largest label and houses artists like Coldplay, Katy Perry, Pink Floyd and The Decemberists.
A few months ago, Google launched Google Music Beta - a cloud storage platform for all of your music. You don't purchase new music on Music Beta, instead you upload the music you already own to the service and it allows you to listen to it anywhere, from any enabled device. It has some pretty awesome features like caching, which allows you to play back songs you've recently listened to even when offline. It also feature a Pandora-like function that builds playlists based on certain starter tracks. Apple tried this type of thing with the "Genius" feature on iTunes.
But Google had problems with gaining licensing agreements from the major record labels, which is why Music Beta launched without a music store.
If Google launches a music store, it will no doubt work alongside Google Music.
If this comes to fruition, Google will be entering a competitive area of cloud-centered music. Apple just launched iOS 5 with the iCloud, matching their ability to sell tracks from all the major labels with the ability to put it all in the cloud. Apple also offers a premium service, iTunes Match, that allows users to listen to all of their music, at any time, without having to manually upload each individual track to the cloud locker.
And of course you have Amazon, which introduced their cloud player back in March.
Do you think a Google Music Store could be successful? Let us know in the comments.