We have a couple of smokin' hot Google I/O rumors for you guys this morning ahead of the event. Both of these showed up late last night. First, there is a huge amount of industry buzz from several big players suggesting that Google has beat Apple to the punch and will be offering a paid subscription based music streaming service with full licensing from Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment and more. This new streaming service, designed to compete directly with Spotify, will supposedly roll out on YouTube and the Google Play Store. Here's a quote from The Verge with some more of the details,
If this is true, it would be a remarkable coup d'état considering how long Apple has been trying to negotiate the same thing with these music companies. The scuttlebutt is that the service will likely be subscription based for approximately $10 bucks a month or so.Google plans to add separate music subscription services to YouTube and Google Play, the entertainment hub for the Android operating system. Earlier this year, Fortune magazine reported that Google had already struck similar licensing agreements with Warner Music Group, the smallest of the top three record labels. But landing Universal Music and Sony gives Google access to the two largest record companies, home to such acts as Bob Dylan, Alicia Keys, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and Jay-Z. Spokespeople from Sony and Universal declined to comment.
When Google rolls out the new services tomorrow at I/O, it will mean that it gets the jump on Apple, which is also trying to launch a new streaming-music service. According to reports, Google's subscription services would resemble Spotify, and offer on-demand songs that would be streamed to their PCs and mobile devices. In contrast, Apple is working on an online radio service that is said to be more akin to Pandora, a service that plays songs at random similar to traditional radio.
Google comes to these negotiations as a powerful player in music. While Google Play is still a relatively new service, insiders say YouTube is a juggernaut. The user-generated video site sees more than 800 million unique visitors a month and music videos are among the most popular fare.
Our second hot rumor is that Samsung and Google have been working on (and will announce at Google I/O) a pure Android version of the Galaxy S4 which will be called the Samsung Galaxy S4 GE (Google Edition). We aren't sure what to make of this rumor. Obviously the prospect has us pretty excited, but it also seems a bit far-fetched because a Google Edition SGS4 would compete directly with Google's own Nexus devices. Of course, this was probably Google's plan all along, as the Nexus devices were simply a way to get manufacturers interested in doing a pure Android version of their devices. If the Nexus devices were simply meant to be "an example to follow" from the beginning, then it is pretty exciting to see Samsung take up the challenge.
Of course, these are just rumors, and may not amount to anything. One thing is for sure, Google I/O will start in just over an hour and we are anxious to see what crazy stuff Google pulls out of its hat.