Google has confirmed that it's working on a music download store and the latest rumors say that it could come this week or next week at the latest. That may seem fast, seeing as the negotiations have only been revealed a few weeks ago, but Google seems to be determined to have something to show for itself soon.
And it's going to do that even if it means launching the store with only half of the major music labels on board, if that. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google is in close negotiations with two labels, but the other two remain unconvinced.
So far, it seems that Google has managed to get EMI to play ball, though it's unclear if a deal has been struck. Talks have been in the final stages though. Universal Music Group is also very close to striking a deal with Google.
However, that still leaves Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group which remain skeptical. For Sony, the worries have to do with the same old things the labels have been telling Google for ages, concerns about piracy and how Google could do more to stop it.
Warner on the other hand seems to be more worried about the money, Google's Music locker is still free, while Apple's upcoming iTunes Match will not be.
But Google has said that it may include a subscription fee once Music goes out of beta. The fact that it has no licensing deal with any of the music labels for the cloud locker service means that it doesn't have to pay them anything, so it can keep it free.
But this also means that users have to go through a bigger hassle to get their music online, large music libraries will take days to upload, while Apple's offering will simply match a user's tunes with the ones already in the cloud.
Google's reason for rushing to get the store open is simple and obvious, once Apple launches the cloud locker service, it will have the most complete and powerful online music service around.
The store won't help Google overtake Apple, but, at least, it won't be left too far behind and the company will be able to match Apple's and Amazon's offerings in the space, albeit, only on paper.
The only thing Google has going for it is the Google+ integration and the ability for users to share songs they buy with their friends who get to listen to them in a limited manner, likely only once.