I missed this (MarketingVox) while traveling to the Doc’s:
A string of announcements, unintended quotes and other moves have led to the early unveiling of a new music purchasing service.
A correction has been made to this story. The gBox is a product purveyed by Navio with ads served by Google; it is not itself a Google product.
First came the news that Universal Music Group would begin selling DRM-free music through a variety of outlets. Rhapsody, Best Buy and Amazon were all named partners in offering tracks from UMG, which would be in MP3 format and priced at $.99 a piece.
The non-inclusion of Apple’s iTunes as a place for the songs was a direct slap in the face of the company, which UMG has been sparring with recently.
Some time ago the label announced it would not renew its long-term contract with Apple, opting to go day-to-day. Universal has been among the loudest calling for a new – preferably variable – pricing model on iTunes, which Apple has steadfastly refused to address.
With all this comes news of the trump card, the gBox by Navio. The gBox serves DRM-free music, courtesy of Universal, as well as ads from Google.
While gBox is not a music storefront in and of itself, it’s awfully close. Users who search for the name of a Universal artist or band will be shown an ad, bought by Universal, that takes them to where they can buy the song. Google then gets a percentage of all referrals.
I will be getting smarter on this soon, and report back as soon as I can (embargoes, etc. will delay the reporting). In short, this is Google proving its PPA model, and doing os in a way that might make Eric’s board meetings at Apple a bit uncomfortable for a while.