Today music lovers in Austria, Belgium, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal can join their European neighbours in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, and buy their favourite songs and albums on Google Play, our digital entertainment destination for Android devices and the web.

Music first launched on Google Play in Europe in November 2012, and the fast rollout to more countries today is due to the multi-territorial licensing process, as recommended by the European Commission last year. We have 14 multi-territorial licenses for composition rights covering Europe and representing the vast majority of the world’s music, and have recently welcomed the members of AKM/AUME in Austria, SABAM in Belgium, SPA in Portugal, and IMRO in Ireland into our growing list of author’s society partners.

Google Play makes it easy for you to buy your favourite songs and albums, and instantly add them to your music library. You can add up to 20,000 songs from your existing music collection to Google Play instantly, and listen to your music from any computer or Android phone or tablet, even when you’re offline.

To coincide with Google Play Music’s launch in these five new countries, we’re also launching artist hub – a platform for independent artists to sell their music directly to fans. In the artist hub, self-published artists can create a profile, upload their music files, suggest a retail price, and sell their music on Google Play.

According to a Nielsen/Billboard’s recent Music Industry Report, overall music purchases are at a record high, driven by digital sales. Sales of digital albums were up 14 per cent in 2012, while sales of digital tracks grew by five per cent last year, meaning overall music sales were up more than three per cent compared to 2011.

As people’s love affair with great music continues, so too will our commitment to bringing Google Play to more countries around the world.