Google+ has launched a new Studio Mode for its Hangouts On Air service, in a move that suggests it wants to become the default choice for musicians to stream their live shows. The new mode lets users optimise the sound quality of Hangouts On Air for real-time music instead of voice, promising to deliver vastly improved sound quality and a better live experience, according to Tech Crunch.

The move is an intriguing one for Google, as the world at large continues to weigh up what, exactly, Google+ is for. As things stand, many musicians and labels have Google+ profiles – Atlantic, for example, created profiles for many of its bigger acts in January – arguably out of a sense of obligation, rather than for any particular service the social media site offers.

Hangouts On Air, an extension of the Hangout video chat service that lets users stream to an unlimited audience rather than just 10 people, could be that essential tool, as it not only streams concerts live, but also uploads a recording to YouTube once the broadcast is over, creating a useful live archive.

To date few big artists have taken advantage of Hangouts, with the exception of, who became the first person to officially host a Google+ Hangout in September 2011, giving his fans backstage access to one of his concerts. But with the launch of Studio Mode, tapping into the trend for live concert streaming, that could be about to change. Could Google+, then, end up an essential platform for music?

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