Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nov. 16 will reportedly introduce its Web-based music store, selling tunes for $1 a song from record labels Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and EMI Music.
Google, which is hosting its music service launch event tonight in Los Angeles, did not comment.
However, the Wall Street Journal said Google's store will enable consumers to share one to two listens of their songs with their friends, family and colleagues on the Google+ social network.
Bloomberg meanwhile said Google failed to strike a deal to use songs from label Warner Music Group, owing to pricing and piracy concerns.
This music store is what many Google watchers expected Google to unveil at its Google I/O developer show in May. Instead, Google's Music beta launched as a free music storage hub where users could upload as many as 20,000 songs from iTunes or Windows formats to Google's cloud.
Users can then play their songs on PCs and Android smartphones and tablets. Music Beta, which has not been blessed by the music labels, does not enable consumers to purchase music. It does have an Instant Mix feature that lets users create a playlist of songs that go well together.
Google's new streaming service will debut two days after Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which ignited the music download market with iTunes store a decade ago, launched iTunes Match. Match lets users scan and match their music collection.
This zaps the music immediately to an online storage locker without requiring tedious uploads the way Google's Music Beta requires. Unlike Music Beta, it has the benefit of licenses from the major music labels.
Google will also find itself competing with Amazon's MP3 download service and Cloud Drive music locker and Cloud Player, as well as popular streaming music service Spotify.
Google's latest music foray is ostensibly another way to fortify its fledgling Google+ social network.
The ability to share music and other forms of media, such as movies, might entice people who otherwise would spend time socializing on Facebook. Facebook integrates with Spotify to keep its 800 million-plus users engaged.