Google will start selling music tracks and albums through its Android Market, moving beyond apps as part an update and official rollout of its Google Music service, which debuted earlier this year in beta form.
Partners in the expanded Google Music service include Bellevue-based T-Mobile USA, which announced at a Google event this afternoon that it will let its customers pay for music from Google via their T-Mobile bill.
Google’s move expands the search giant’s footprint to compete more aggressively with Apple’s iTunes, Rhapsody, Spotify and other music stores and services. Google Music stores tracks in the cloud and lets users stream them via the web or to devices running Android 2.2 or higher.
The music section of the Android Market is live here. Major music labels EMI, Universal and Sony are on board, in addition to indie publishers.
Google says its Google Music service will be free for uploading and streaming up to 20,000 songs. In a dig at Apple’s new $25/year iTunes Match service, the company pointed out that its approach differs from “other cloud music services” that “think you have to pay for music you already own.”
Update 3 p.m.: Here is Google’s blog post with more details.