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Google's Music launch--hipness runneth over

To launch Google Music, the company chooses to dress up a graffiti-covered former industrial warehouse that now serves as the studio for a well-known "artist."

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Greg Sandoval
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
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1 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Android gets tagged

Google held a press event this week to launch Google Music and for the occasion created a nightclub atmosphere.

Some of the highlights for the new service include adding a new music store to Android Market that is integrated with Google Music; cloud storage and streaming, a selection of 13 million tracks; and the ability to buy a song or album and then offer friends or family the ability to hear them once free of charge.

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2 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

T-Mobile teed up Google Music launch

T-Mobile made its presence known early on at the Google Music press event on Wednesday.

Guests entering the Los Angeles art studio where the function was held were greeted by two-model types wearing T-Mobile hoodies. T-Mobile is enabling users to tuck Google Music song purchases into their phone bill.

Talk about impulse buying.

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3 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Google music as an artist hub

At the launch of the service, not only did the three-man band Monogold perform for the media, but Google used the act to demonstrate how Google Music can help unsigned artists distribute their music and promote their work.

Artists can pay $25 to create a profile and then upload songs, link to music videos and set their own prices. They keep 70 percent of the revenue generated. Google also supplies them with sales data.

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4 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Labels partner up

Google saw the support of some of its top label partners, including Universal Music Group, the largest of the four major record companies. Rob Wells, the label's president of global digital business is in charge of striking digital deals "wherever he can find them," according to PaidContent. Wells predicted that Google Music would be a "rich new revenue stream" for UMG.
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5 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Google Music's creators

Zahavah Levine, YouTube's former general counsel, is now is in charge of helping Android and Google Music obtain content. She says Google continues to negotiate with Warner Music Group, the only top labels not licensing songs to Google Music.

Before YouTube, Levine was associate general counsel for RealNetworks. She's photographed here in Mr. Brainwash's Studio following the Google Music launch.

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6 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Mr. Brainwash and artsy thoughts

Thierry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, the alleged street artist, videographer and clothing-store operator who was also the subject of the hit documentary, "Exit Through The Gift Shop," attended the Google Music launch.

The Los Angeles building where the event was held was said to be Guetta's studio.

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7 of 7 Greg Sandoval/CNET

Buying tunes via phone bill

Andrew Sherrard, a marketing executive for T-Mobile, showed up to the launch to help announce that the company is working with Google to enable customers to pay for music purchases from Android Market through their phone bills.

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