Why Google's new music service won't kill Spotify

A new streaming platform made its debut at this morning's I/O showcase

Google Music
(Image credit: Adam Berry/Getty Images)

Google is on something of a hot streak. Its stock price soared past $900 this morning for a new all-time high. Facebook and Microsoft aren't nearly as big a threat as once thought, and its only real competitor — Apple — has been eerily quiet for the past several months.

Google, on the other hand, has been making a lot of noise. At Google I/O, the annual developer conference kicking off today, the company will pull the curtain back on all sorts of cool new stuff: Cloud platforms, messaging services, design tools, Samsung Galaxy phones loaded with stock Android (nice), and — most intriguingly — imaginative new ways to use Glass, the powerful face computer that's supposed to change the way we look at the world.

One of the company's more anticipated products will be a streaming music-player — a Google-powered answer to Spotify. According to The Verge, Google has signed licensing deals with all three major record labels: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group. For $10 a month, users will be able to stream nearly any song they want, whenever they want, through the device of their choosing.

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It's called Google Play Music All Access. "Radio without rules," says Google.

The obvious question has already been raised: Will Spotify have to "watch out"?

The answer at this point is equally obvious: No, it doesn't.

Remember: Google frequently builds new services that share the same core functions as existing ones that people use and love. Drive was supposed to make Dropbox obsolete. Google+ was supposed to do the same to Facebook. Ditto Google Buzz and… something.

Which brings us to one of the fundamental problems with tech-blogging: Competitors are often pitted against one another as if it's a zero-sum game; it's not. There are plenty of examples of rival services existing side-by-side. (Rdio is still doing reasonably well even with Spotify's presence, for example.)

It's great that Google is building exciting new products. With the Android platform and native integration across phones and tablets, Google Play Music All Access (which really needs a shorthand, by the way) should be fast, fluent, and a pleasure to use.

As for Spotify, Rdio, and their ilk? They'll be just fine, too.

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Chris Gayomali is the science and technology editor for TheWeek.com. Previously, he was a tech reporter at TIME. His work has also appeared in Men's Journal, Esquire, and The Atlantic, among other places. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.