Google may be playing catch-up with its music-download store and online locker service, but the company made up a lot of ground on Monday.
Warner Music Group has finally licensed its catalog to Google's music-download store, nearly a year after its U.S. launch. With Warner's catalog, Google can now add a scan-and-match feature that's already available from competing online lockers from Apple and Amazon. The earlier version of Google Play locker service required users to upload each song individually. The new version scans the user's catalog and matches songs in Google's library without uploading them one at a time.
There are currently no promotions at Google Play that announce the arrival of the Warner catalog, but Levine says Google is "going to work with Warner in the next couple weeks to figure that out."
Google Play could get a boost in awareness simply because the music locker's scan-and-match feature will be free. Both Apple and Amazon charge $25 a year for the same service. The storage limit is unchanged at 20,000 songs.
"In order to have a successful store, people need to be able to seamlessly add their purchases to their preexisting collection," Zahavah Levine, director of content partnerships for Android, explained to Billboard.biz. "People need to access their existing collections. We need one ecosystem."
Google's music download store and music locker service will roll out in five U.K. markets -- the U.K., France, Italy, Germany and Spain -- on November 13.
Google Play is the umbrella brand for all verticals in Google's download store. Music, movies, books, apps and magazines are sections in the Google Play store -- there's a web version and an Android app. All verticals were put under this one central marketplace in March.
Google's music announcements were part of a broader announcement about the geographic expansion of Google Play and four new devices by Nexus, Google's hardware line, all of which will be available in November. The four new Nexus devices run Android 4.2, a new version of the Jelly Bean operating system.
Google Play is expanding to bring purchased downloads to more territories: Movie downloads are available today in Canada, the U.K., France, Spain and Australia. In addition, Time Inc. content is now available in Google Play's magazine section.