Earlier today, Hitwise published a report estimating that music-related searches currently make up about 6% of total queries on Google. Clearly then, by integrating actual audio content that could be purchased online, Google would create a big opportunity for all of those involved.
Well, Google has just answered that call, by launching a major new feature that incorporates streaming audio previews when you search for an artist, album, or song using the search engine. There’s also music discovery baked in from services like Pandora, Rhapsody, and Imeem.
Google explains the product further on their blog:
“Now, when you enter a music-related query – like the name of a song, artist or album – your search results will include links to an audio preview of those songs provided by our music search partners MySpace (which just acquired iLike) or Lala. When you click the result you’ll be able to listen to an audio preview of the song directly from one of those partners. For example, if I search for [21st century breakdown], the first results provide links to songs from Green Day’s new album. MySpace and Lala also provide links to purchase the full song.
Many times, though, you don’t know the name of the song or the artist who sings it. Maybe you remember only the chorus – or maybe you remember who sang it, but you forgot the exact name of the song. If you’ve ever heard a catchy song in a car or cafe, but just can’t figure out the name of the song, you’ll know what I’m talking about. This search feature also helps you find many of those songs by entering a search containing a line or two of lyrics. So if I search for [static silhouette somehow], I’ll get results for Phoenix’s song “Rome.”
There’s a video demo as well:
The biggest winner here (or at least the company that needs this the most) would seem to be MySpace, who continues to work to reinvent itself as a content and entertainment destination where music plays a huge role. In recent days, the company has also been reported to be working on deals with both Facebook and MSN. With a Google partnership now in place, at least one huge piece of its new distribution model is complete.
Here’s what MySpace’s player will look like in Google music search results. Note, you can play the track, watch the video, or find tour info and buy tickets:
Google says the music search features will be rolling out “gradually to users across the U.S. over the next day.”
Reviews: Facebook, Google, MySpace, Pandora, Rhapsody, imeem