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Wednesday, November 16, 2011, 05:39 am PT (08:39 am ET)

Google to counter Apple's iTunes with its own online music store

Google on Wednesday is expected to announce a new online music store that will let users buy and store songs online and listen to them on multiple devices, in direct competition with Apple's iTunes.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg has reported that Google has secured the necessary licenses from Sony, Universal and EMI for its soon-to-launch music store. But the search giant has not yet reached an agreement with Warner Music Group "because of pricing and piracy concerns."

Google's anticipated jump into the online music sales business comes more than 8 years after Apple launched its own iTunes Music Store in late April of 2003. That time has given Apple a huge head start, with the company announcing in June that more than 15 billion total songs have been downloaded.

The report said that Google is also looking to obtain rights for users of its social networking service, Google+, to share music with one another. The company declined to comment.

Earlier this year, the Google Music beta was launched, though it didn't include any actual music sales. The company instead sidestepped licensing agreements and allows users to upload and stream their own tracks from a digital online locker.

Google Music


Apple instead took a different approach, and obtained licenses to allow users to re-download any music they have purchased through iTunes again on other devices with its iTunes in the Cloud service. The newly launched iTunes Match service even goes one step further, allowing users to match their personal collection of songs, including ones obtained from sources outside of the iTunes Music Store, and re-download those tracks to other devices.

Google's kickoff event begins Wednesday at 2 p.m. Pacific, 5 p.m. Eastern. It will be streamed from youtube.com/android.