While the finer points of Google's new music-download store won't be known until the press conference (scheduled for 5 p.m. ET Wednesday in Los Angeles), some aspects have become clear from industry sources and media reports over the last few weeks.
First, sharing looks to be central to the addition of a download store to Google Music, according Billboard.biz's sources as well as numerous media reports. The existing cloud-based locker service can't facilitate sharing because Google didn't acquire the licenses. With licenses in tow, the new Google Music will allow some short of sharing amongst users.
Second, Warner could be the lone major label holdout at launch. Sony Music will be on board for tomorrow's launch, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday evening. Universal Music Group and EMI are widely reported to have finalized deals already.
Third, expect mobile to be a cornerstone of Google's music plans. The Android operating system represents Google's push into mobile devices, and the company needs to keep up with the cloud-based ambitions of Apple and Amazon. A Music Beta app is already available for Android devices.
Fourth, look for search and social to play a role in Google's music activities. Google does, of course, dominate the search marketplace. And it has a new social network, Google+, that needs some sort of music play to keep up with Facebook's heavy activity in the music sphere.
How correct is all of the above? We'll find out later today …