The signing of a licensing deal with Armonia and search giant Google will bring 5.5 million songs to Google Music's European users.
The agreement with Europe's music publishers, artists and composers will allow customers in 35 European countries to synchronize their music connections with Google's music library so that they can stream music via Google on their mobile devices when out and about rather than having to copy each of their tracks onto their Android smartphone or tablet, taking up valuable space for apps and photos in the process.
European users will also be able to purchase tracks from Google's music library, bringing the service in line with its biggest direct competitors -- Apple's iTunes and Amazon. Users outside of the US have been waiting a long time for Google to catch up but now that the service has arrived, Google's decision not to charge a yearly subscription for synching and storing up to 20,000 tracks for each user could see it gain a march on its competitors. Apple's iTunes Match, which essentially offers the same service -- synching, streaming, storing and purchasing -- costs users $25 a year.
Of the deal, Google's head of music licensing, Sami Valkonen, said: "We're thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Armonia societies. Licenses such as this are important in ensuring that artists and rights-holders are rewarded fairly for their creative endeavours, and digital service providers are able to bring innovative services to market for the benefit of European consumers. Armonia is a welcome development in the on-going reform of pan-territorial licensing in Europe in helping simplify and speed-up the music-licensing process, which is crucial in fostering ongoing rapid innovation by digital music service providers."
Created by SACEM, SGAE and SIAE, (the French, Spanish and Italian national music publishing groups respectively) Armonia is the first pan-European hub for licensing online music and was created to simplify and optimize multi-territory rights management.