January 19, 2012 at 4:37 pm

Google: Your New Indie Record Store Clerk?

Google announced a neat addition to its still relatively shiny and new music store on Thursday: a special spotlight on the best independent bands, as judged by Google’s in-house editorial staff as well as by traffic to those bands’ pages within the music store.

Yes, in case you missed it, Google has its own music blog, Google Magnified. Dovetailing with that, the new Magnified section of the Google Music Store will feature one album each week as a staff pick, as well as a monthly list of Magnified artists, with the featured bands receiving badges on their page.

It’s a neat trick from Google’s perspective, because bands now have another incentive to drive traffic to their Google Music Store pages –not only because they can sell music there for any price and keep 70 percent (or offer downloads for free), but also because sending fans to their page on Google could lead to a Magnified feature.

In addition, Google will take this show on the road, offering featured bands the opportunity to play live at a series of concerts, including the Sundance Film Festival (this weekend), a Grammy afterparty, SXSW, and Coachella, sponsored by various brands.

“Indie or do-it-yourself artists who aren’t signed on a record label and own the rights to their music can go in to the artist hub, create a page, and upload their music and start selling their music without any kind of distribution deal, which is great,” a Google spokeswoman who wished not to be identified explained to Evolver.fm. “We’re launching a program to help those artists get more exposure in the Google Music Store, because a lot of them are unsigned, and they’re still new, emerging talent. This is a cool way for them to find fans and also for fans to get connected with new music.”

She confirmed that Google music guy Tim Quirk (formerly vice president of Rhapsody and an early Listen.com employee) is heading up the team that will help choose the bands. To enter for consideration, bands need only submit their music for sale on the Google music store directly, without the need to go through an aggregator or distributor, as bands must do with Spotify and other services that don’t accept direct submissions from bands.