Quantcast
“A couple of major labels were not as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable and did not allow us to build a product or a business on a sustainable basis.”
——Google’s Jamie Rosenberg
GOOGLE TO LAUNCH LOCKER SERVICE SANS LICENSES
Company Says It Will Continue to Negotiate, With Hopes of Expanding Music Offerings
Google is expected to do an unveiling today, but it isn’t that long-awaited music store/subscription service. Instead, the tech giant will announce the launch of a cloud-based music player, along the lines of the one introduced earlier this year by Amazon, which will enable users to upload and store their music collections and listen to their songs on Android-based devices.

The announcement will be made today at Google I/O, the company’s developers conference in New York, which will run through Wednesday, the N.Y. Times reports.

The service, to be called Music Beta by Google, will store considerably more music than its Amazon counterpart. But the two services have something else in common: neither has the cooperation of labels, which means that users can’t do certain things that would require licenses, like sharing songs with friends or buying songs from Google.

But Google’s announcement at this time was a surprise because it’s been negotiating with the majors for months to try to make a deal to team with them on a cloud music service.

“A couple of major labels were not as collaborative and frankly were demanding a set of business terms that were unreasonable and did not allow us to build a product or a business on a sustainable basis,” Jamie Rosenberg, director for digital content for Android, told the Times. “So we’re not necessarily relying on the partnerships that have proven difficult.”

The news caused some media commentators to claim that Google’s storage service would deal a devastating blow to the music business, but that assertion seems like a gross exaggeration. Once uploaded, the music can’t be downloaded, thereby preventing piracy. Sure, maybe the labels could have made a little money on licensing, but it's doubtful this revenue would’ve been more than the pennies they make from streaming video deals. The endgame has always been to sell music, which requires exposure and accessibility. How does Google hurt the labels by providing both, even without a license?

But David Pakman, who co-founded first-gen music service Myplay in 1999, sees the service as a long shot, telling the Times, “This whole upload thing just seems like a significant barrier to wide consumer adoption, because even with broadband it just takes a long time [to upload].”

But Amazon forced Google’s hand, he added. “If you’re faced with another six months of brutal negotiations and your competitor just launched this, you just get in the market and get a lot of users.”

Rosenberg characterized Music Beta as a first step in a broader cloud music service and said Google hoped to continue negotiating with the labels to get licenses to offer other things, like a that much-discussed music store and/or sub service.

For now, users can store 20k songs free, as opposed to Amazon’s 1k track limit. Music Beta syncs activity on different devices, so if users create playlists on their phones, the playlists will automatically show up on their computers.

Said Rosenberg, “We looked at the power of Google to deliver a compelling cloud-based service and essentially married those technologies with what we felt was lacking in the Android experience up until now.”

Meaning the company now has something to rival Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone.

ARE SUMMER STADIUMS NEXT?
Uncertainty reigns. (4/9a)
YOUR TOP 20:
WEEKND VS. WAVE
Deja vu all over again? (4/9a)
A REFRESHING REVENUE CHART
Bring on the newbies. (4/9a)
FANS PINE FOR PRINE (UPDATE)
Hello up there. (4/9a)
IOVINE GAME FOR FAZE CLAN
There's life after Beats, Apple for the irrepressible innovator. (4/9a)
WE FOUND SOME TOILET PAPER
Also known as back issues of HITS.
SOCIAL DISTANCING
We turn out to be pioneers.
STREAMING STORIES
The music doc shows new muscle.
ELECTION 2020
Not postponed yet.
 Email

 First Name

 Last Name

 Company

 Country
CAPTCHA code
Captcha: (type the characters above)