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Google Launches Music Service Despite Industry Resistance (Update)

Posted on May 10, 2011
woozie2010 (CC-BY-SA)

Update: Music Beta by Google is official. See the video embedded in the original post below for the ins and outs.


For months Google has been putting the finishing touches on a “cloud” music service that will allow users to put their own music collections online, much like Amazon’s Cloud Player. Apple is also working on such a project. Unlike Apple and Amazon, Google was unable to negotiate a deal with any of the major record companies, which one Google executive described as “less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms.”

Google plans to compensate, reports Peter Kafka (see below), by offering to host 20,000 songs for free (Amazon offers much less space gratis) and some unique features.

The record companies reportedly weren’t thrilled with Amazon’s little bombshell, which launched at the end of March, but previous deals allow Amazon to sell music directly to consumers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is planning a “much more robust online music service,” but it now appears that Cupertino will be third out of the gate.

Google’s announcement was expected Tuesday as the company kicks off its annual I/O conference. Early reports say Google Music, much like other Google products, will be rolled out in beta to an invitation-only crowd with rapid expansion in mind.

Unfortunately, Google says it had to shelve its more ambitious plans, and there’s reason to believe Amazon has allowed its Cloud Player to stagnate rather than further alienate the record labels.

There’s a reason people steal music, and it’s not just because they can get it free that way. Even giant corporations like Google and Amazon can’t get the music industry to sell its product in an innovative and consumer-friendly way.  —PZS

All Things Digital:

Google Music will roughly mirror what Amazon showed off in March: A service that loads copies of music that users already own into an Internet-based server, which lets them stream the songs over the Web and onto Android phones and tablets. The Wall Street Journal first reported on Google’s plans.

Google has originally planned a more robust version of the concept, which it was going to introduce with cooperation from the labels. But as I reported last month, talks between Google and the labels, which started a year ago, have hit an impasse, and Google has apparently decided that it would rather launch a reduced version of a music service than none at all.

“Unfortunately, a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms,” says Jamie Rosenberg, who oversees digital content and strategy for Google’s Android platform.

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By Viva La Revolucion, May 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
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Immortal Technique.

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By UreKismet, May 11, 2011 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

As the global publishing industry rages against the dying of the light, I suppose the fact that it occasionally turns on other transnational monoliths especially those that they believe have gazumped their business model is to be expected.

Unfortunately for humanity the record companies and the rest of the music publishing industry expend much more of their enegrgy using extortion blackmail and outright bribery in an attempt to force legislatures around the planet to ‘turn back the clock’.  Forcing nations to oppress their own citizens to further the corporates’ grasping attempts to control us all.

They employ amerikan politicians and diplomats to strong arm, bribe and blackmail legislators in other jurisdictions.
See which details these activities thanks to wikileaks release of embassy cables.

Intellectual property laws are simply another facet of amerikan imperialism.  No matter where an artist may originate, amerikan controlled transnational corporations collect the bulk of the return, because royalty payments have never been about rewarding the artist, they have always been about enriching already loaded corporations and their stockholders.

As parasitical as the usury amerika’s PTB feed off while claiming to be xtian.

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By Barquero, May 11, 2011 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
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Is there anything for which the record companies cannot be blamed? The assassination of JFK perhaps?

Why should the music industry be vilified for being “less focused on innovation” for Google and Amazon, and more focused on trying to survive the widespread theft of music that such innovation has made possible, if not inevitable?

Apple’s deals with the industry has effectively made iTunes the 300 pound gorilla that every label has to wrestle with. The proposed “cloud” deals represent nothing less than another seismic shift in the power structure. It’s hard to imagine any industry being eager to sign over the control of the distribution of its products. Yet this is essentially what big brothers Google, Apple, and Amazon are asking for.

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By len semaia, May 10, 2011 at 6:33 am Link to this comment
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i think one of the main reasons record companies have been so reluctant and behind the times is because the want to control what listener’s are exposed to. if a new technology comes along, they usually allow the tech to assert itself into the mainstream, analyze it, then exploit it. just imagine if a revolutionary song that sparked a generation of to awaken from their pop induced coma to produce the greatest revolution in human history? ya never know (fingers crossed)

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