As early as nineties, people were already playing music from their browsers instead of traditional media players. Despite its eventual fall from popularity, I brought a client to the top of her local pop charts on MP3.com. Despite its current stagnation as Yahoo Music, I have fond memories of listening to Launch.com at work.
Between services like Imeem and Pandora and Last.fm, music has been going the way of almost every other computing application: to the cloud. Google, of course, wants to be your gateway to the everything in the cloud. That’s why they’ve introduced Google Music Search.
Google’s approach to music stands in stark contrast to their approach to video. With video, they bought the world’s number one video destination site, then used it as a testbed for video search, recommendation, and monetization across the Web. With music, they’re skipping the testbed phase entirely. Given the litigious nature of the RIAA, the relative simplicity of music compared to video, and the preponderance of major music destination sites, perhaps that’s the best approach: let partner sites worry about rights clearing. That way, Google can focus on what it does best: search.
In the meantime, let’s hope Google works its algorithmic magic to take this feature to awesome extremes. Right now, I’m imagining song recommendations, genre searches, and predictive playlists. Now that would rock.