Google. Discover Music
Google just unveiled a landing page called Discover Music specifically designed for searching music. Google has partnered social media services like Imeem, LaLa, Myspace, Rhapsody, Pandora and music companies/label owners such as EMI, Sony Music, Universal and Warner Brothers to customize search results and provide music content. Users can search by band names, songs, albums, lyrics et cetera.
As with typical Google search, precision can be a problem when using common phrases or words as search terms. The first result in a search on my favorite band Low returns the Google Finance page for Lowe’s Companies. This is a surprising example given finance and music are separate search platforms. Another example is the search for the popular Manchester band Oasis. This yields results typical of a regular Google search with inclusions from a number of organizations using the O.A.S.I.S. acronym and even local search listing for businesses with the name Oasis.
But when the search is successful, and returns results as Google and the Discover Music partners have designed, the first results are options to listen to the band from music streaming sites like MySpace, iLike and so on. You can then listen and even buy songs. The remaining results consist of the band website, fan pages, additional social music networks, Wikipedia and so on.
Context of Social Search
What’s interesting about Google’s new search is the featuring of social networking tools in the results for users’ discovery of new music. Discover Music isn’t guiding users to traditional online music retailers to facilitate purchases but rather online networks for music discovery. Discover Music results are directing traffic to Pandora, MySpace, iLike which are designed to guide people to new music based on what other people are listening to.
Related to the results of Google’s music search, last week public radio’s On the Media focused on music in the digital age. Particularly, their segment on “Charting the Charts” explored current and upcoming methods of ranking music popularity given the multitude of avenues people are able to listen to music.
With the economics of the music industry shifting from stores sales, to digital sales and file sharing/streaming, some feel traditional sources for music rankings like Billboard Charts are failing to capture important aspects of music popularity.
The show featured two sources that are trying to capture music popularity in different ways. BigChampagne is a media measurement tool that tracks legal and illegal downloads, online streaming audio, tour merchandise et cetera. Band Metrics is a service that hopes to collect music data based on interest from social networking sites, radio and show attendance.
“Google Makes Searching for Music Even Easier Than It Already Is.” Pitchfork. October 29, 2009. Web.
“Charting the Charts.” On the Media. WNYC. October 23, 2009. Web.