Does the new Google Music match iTunes?

At an event in L.A. this afternoon, Google revealed their revamped music streaming service called Google Music. Music was previously in beta for the last three months, but today has launched to everyone (in the U.S.) and includes a set of new features. Music will continue using the Music Manager application, that was available in the beta, to let users upload music to the web locker for streaming on Android devices and through the web. Users are able to upload up to 20,000 songs for free and can have them available offline on their Android devices.

The big news regarding Music is its huge integration into the Android Market and new Music Store. Millions of songs are now available for purchase from both Android and the Music webpage. Songs range from 99-cents to a $1.29, and every song has a 90 second preview and will be downloaded as a 320k MP3 — available on Android devices and in the web locker. Music can also be shared with friends over Google Plus, and friends will receive a full free play of the song (or album) once you share it.

Google said today an iOS app will also be on its way. While users can play music from their locker with the mobile web app (check out our hands on) on iOS devices right now, a native app will definitely be a bonus.

When it comes to what songs are available, Google has locked in Sony, EMI, and Universal for music licensing (What? No Warner?), and also has close to 1,000 smaller labels. 13 million tracks will be available over time, but 8 million are available today. Users can upload any song to the locker, however, regardless of label.

Another new feature announced in Music today is Artist Hub, a place that allows artists to share music to fans. Artists can build their own unique artist page to upload content and sell their songs for $25 a year.

So how will Google Music compete with iTunes?

What’s on offer is a different set of services from both companies.  It’s simple: iOS users will use iTunes to purchase music and store their music in iTunes Match ($25 a year), while Android users will use Google Music to purchase music and store it to the cloud (free).

With almost 550,000 activations a day and 200 million devices overall, Android is sure rolling, and will certainly give Apple a run for their money this holiday season. Google Music now brings the Google ecosystem almost up to snuff with Apple’s for user music management and purchasing.  We’ll see if that has any meaningful affect on where people spend their listening money.

Our hands on with Google Music.

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