Another online music download service is set to enter the ring. The difference this time? The partnership is between Universal and Kingpin, Google. The pairing off was announced earlier last week, but now more details have emerged on the business plan. The service called gBox, (not a euphemism), will be different to traditional offerings such as iTunes, as Google will play the role of advertiser and Universal will pick up the cash from the sale. The dangerous-duo are set to launch on August 21, 2007.
The system actually seems fairly smart and sounds like it may prove to be a threat to the stranglehold Apple has on the market at the moment. Here is how it is intended to work:
Universal will purchase advertising space from Google; the adverts will appear when a relevant search is made for an artist. These will then direct the customer to gBox, where the artists work will be for sale. The prices are competitive and this is key to any potential success. At 99 cents for a DRM free track, the prices at gBox will be undercutting iTunes by a full 30 cents. For an inexplicable reason you may opt for a DRM enabled track for the same price. We are guessing that option will not be as popular.
Certainly this paves the way for more competition in a market that is currently monopolised by Apple. However, any start-up company with no iPod support is bound to be on the back foot and Universal's image of being greedy piggy will not help their situation in the slightest. [Forbes] .