Universal Partners With Google To Rival iTunes

Illustration for article titled Universal Partners With Google To Rival iTunes

Another online music download service is set to enter the ring. The difference this time? The partnership is between Universal and Kingpin, Google. The pairing off was announced earlier last week, but now more details have emerged on the business plan. The service called gBox, (not a euphemism), will be different to traditional offerings such as iTunes, as Google will play the role of advertiser and Universal will pick up the cash from the sale. The dangerous-duo are set to launch on August 21, 2007.


The system actually seems fairly smart and sounds like it may prove to be a threat to the stranglehold Apple has on the market at the moment. Here is how it is intended to work:

Universal will purchase advertising space from Google; the adverts will appear when a relevant search is made for an artist. These will then direct the customer to gBox, where the artists work will be for sale. The prices are competitive and this is key to any potential success. At 99 cents for a DRM free track, the prices at gBox will be undercutting iTunes by a full 30 cents. For an inexplicable reason you may opt for a DRM enabled track for the same price. We are guessing that option will not be as popular.

Certainly this paves the way for more competition in a market that is currently monopolised by Apple. However, any start-up company with no iPod support is bound to be on the back foot and Universal's image of being greedy piggy will not help their situation in the slightest. [Forbes].



There's a g-damn pop-up window on gbox.com. WTF? The little description that appears on search engine result pages says "gbox - get gifts! gBox is the premiere site to give and receive gifts. Digital music and videos, ringtones, wallpapers and much, much more." It took me three passes to realize this is the Universal music service competing against iTunes.

Gbox should fail miserably.

And as for subscriptions: I once was closed-minded like Doinka, but then I realized how wonderfully cheap it is to have the world of music at the click of your mouse. It's like a trustworthy TBYB and a cheap, personal jukebox. I can't imagine my day without my Rhapsody subscription any more. I've learned about and listened to so many new bands due to Rhapsody. And when I love something, I buy it. It's perfect for me. So, it looks like it works when it's done right.