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Google Play offeringsApple, Google and Amazon, the tech giants of today have ever evolving strategies for entertainment. Remember in 2004 when Google adamantly refused to be called a media company. Well… things change.

In the online tech world, entertainment is also called digital content – video, music, books, games, apps. The chart below from Mark Mulligan describes how companies can use the same content in strategically different ways.  It undoubtedly will evolve, but it’s reasonable to say Apple uses content as a loss-leader to sell devices; Amazon uses devices as a loss-leader to sell content; Google uses content and devices as loss-leaders to gather user data (for selling advertising).

So as Beats Music grows, Apple has a strong hand in the streaming music arena – good for selling ‘i-everything’ devices.

Amazon released Prime Music which currently is sub-standard for getting all music, but it enhances Amazon Prime subscribers – good for Amazon’s massive warehouses of physical products, unrelated to digital content.

Google is poised to release a YouTube music subscription service – good for Google because YouTube already is the goto place for hearing free music. Getting data on niche subscribers of YouTube music will only enhance their targeted advertising capabilities.

All this positioning by big companies is giving consumers more options to listen to music. Consumer confusion is an unfortunate by-product until scale is reached by the music streaming ecosystem. Just yesterday telecom T-Mobile released “UnRadio”, a Rhapsody powered music service for T-Mobile customers only. More options…