Google Follows Amazon's Lead: Launching Music Locker, But Ignoring RIAA Demands For Licenses

from the good-move dept

After Amazon launched its music locker without first getting licenses from the record labels, there were rumors that Google might do the same. Google had been negotiating with the labels, but (not at all surprisingly) found that the labels were making ridiculous demands (lots of money and crazy restrictions that would handicap the service). It appears that the folks at Google are realizing what Amazon figured out a while ago: there doesn't appear to be any licensing needed to run a music locker service. After all, you don't need a license to listen to your own music stored on your own hard drive. Why should it be any different if that hard drive is connected to you via the internet?

So it should come as little surprise that Google is, indeed, moving forward with its music locker launch, and doing so without label approval. It sounds like the offering will be similar to Amazon's, but with (significantly) more free storage.

The real question is how the labels will react. With Amazon, there was definitely some complaining and fretting and talk about how "something" had to be done, but none of the labels seemed willing to step up and sue. But with Google entering the market as well, and Apple likely to follow soon as well, you have to think that some label is going to take a flier on a lawsuit just to register the protest. Of course, in the meantime, I imagine everyone will be continuing to pay attention to the one current lawsuit in this space: EMI's suit against MP3Tunes, for which we should (finally?) be hearing some sort of decision before too long.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 6:42am

    I liked the idea posited in the comments of the post on Amazon's service, where a commenter suggested that Amazon or Google simply purchase the Big Three and let people download for free. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 7:19am

      Re:

      Google may be a bit less evil than them right now, but I don't give it too much longer...

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Hephaestus (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:20am

      Re:

      "...suggested that Amazon or Google simply purchase the Big Three ..."

      I have been saying that for a year plus now. The one problem I see is the anti trust issue of one company owning all the labels. It wouldn't be an issue if 4 large tech companies each bought one of the remaining big 4.

      All of the labels are hemoraging money. Now would not be the time to actually purchase the music companies. Warner was sold this week for 3.3 billion which is way to high. EMI is going on the chopping block in a few months (??august??) expect a 2 plus billion dollar price tag. The time to buy them up is in two to three years when the CD sales have dried up totally, the online music sales have dropped by 40% world wide, and competition from free erodes the music companies ability to create new artists.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:34am

        Re: Re:

        "if 4 large tech companies each bought one of the remaining big 4"

        Amazon = "One click download"
        Google = "Download, ignore ad"
        Apple = "Add the apple logo, charge extra 200%"
        Microsoft = "Activate online or call 1-800..."

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          DannyB (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Microsoft: activate by US Postal mail.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            icon
            Atkray (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 8:30am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The USPS one rate service is awesome when you need a physical good delivered. I ordered some replacement USB connectors for my laptop on Fri. evening and had them at my house on Mon. (Texas to Utah).

            I'm not holding out a lot of hope because of the parent company for the USPS but who knows.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Dan (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 8:08am

        Re: Re:

        It's not a competition with free, it's a competition with convenience. Netflix is a good example. It's not free, nor a flawless service with a great selection, but it is convenient as hell.

        Being free adds to the convenience factor by eliminating the mental transaction cost, but a reasonably priced flat rate plan does that as well.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Hephaestus (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 9:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "It's not a competition with free, it's a competition with convenience."

          If you chart out the trends it is a competition with free. In the end music is going to be nothing more than a promotional tool that is given away. It already is that way.

          The labels already give away most new songs as promotional music. They can't say "here, distribute this on your web site" and then whine and complain that the music is being downloaded.

          They are caught between a rock and a hard place. In order to promote music, and create hype they have to distribute the music. But once distributed, they loose all control over that music.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        bosconet (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 8:57am

        Re: Re:

        No, no, no. Why waste money on all the labels. Just buy the one with the largest catalogue and undercut the other labels and price and negotiate contracts with artists that are open and don't swindle them out of their profits.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Rose M. Welch (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 9:00am

        Re: Re:

        I don't know; I call bullshit on the monopoly idea, because the RIAA already has control over this portion of the industry, so why not a different - more sensible - entity?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          harbingerofdoom (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 9:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          i get your drift, but thats not entirely accurate.

          RIAA is a trade group under the employ of the major labels not the other way around. because of that RIAA cant fall under any sort of anti-trust pertaining to ownership since the ownership technically employs RIAA.


          the fact that RIAA generally calls all the shots is an entirely different matter.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      I agree it would be a dream come true. Antitrust suits would follow I am sure. What I say can be done is this: Don't let google or apple buy the music industry by themselves. Rather, all companies should buy the industry as a hole and retain the rights to the songs.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Huph, May 10th, 2011 @ 9:46am

        Re: Re:

        Yeah, it would be "great".

        Apple songs would only play on their devices.

        Google's songs would mostly be muzak versions of better songs--much like how most of their search results lead to content farms.

        Microsoft's songs would be "compatible" with a wide array of devices, but bad implementation would lead to most of your music being played backwards, the artwork would never render properly, and all mp3s will manipulate your registry.

        I've got no beef with Amazon, but if they became a music publisher/label they wouldn't be able to act as a simple distribution service. They certainly couldn't allow competition from music outside of their roster onto their site.

        Seriously, the idea that software companies should control music is very flawed. For god's sake, Google still hasn't figured out how to make Youtube profitable!

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Huph, May 10th, 2011 @ 9:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          And don't forget, if they buy these catalogs, they must come up with money to pay royalties. They'll be purchasing all the label's contracts as well. There's not a chance they'd be able to handle a royalty/licensing scheme.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          harbingerofdoom (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 9:51am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ya..ummm..

          imma give you the benefit of the doubt that you were trying to be sarcastic with much of this post cause a lot of it is really nonsensical ramblings.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 10:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No doofus, it's called reality. Try it out sometime.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              harbingerofdoom (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              lol


              rather than play word games with you here is whats wrong with your statement

              apple: so what. strip the drm and/or convert it.. same exact thing that happens today so big whoop.

              google: you seriously think that *IF* they bought a label the only versions of the songs you would be able to get are muzak covers? dont be dumb.

              M$: do you really think they would A) buy a record label? and B) release tracks that are backwards mangled or otherwise unplayable? additionally, its a file numbnutz... there would be no way for it to make changes to anything simply because its not executable code on its own. and what idiot in their right mind would buy music in any digital format that could actually run its own code? only morons thats who.

              the only thing you said that was not pure lunacy was the point about amazon and that one rather than being drug induced is instead just wrong.
              there is no reason they could not distribute as well. they certainly have the infrastructure to do it more than any of the other three you mentioned (well, maybe apple, but apple would still only be able to match them in digital distribution, physical distribution is kind of a major function of amazon dontcha think?)

              as for google figuring out how to make youtube profitable, it has as much to do with this as your post has to do with reality which is zilch

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                icon
                harbingerofdoom (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                correction:
                that should say THAT statement...not YOUR statement

                two different people (or at least i sure the hell hope so)

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:07am

    It is not much of a stretch to say, this actually bodes well for Zediva and their online DVD rental and streaming business model. The only difference between amazon cloud music and zediva is the rental aspect.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    You can't negotiate with crazy people

    They are going to "crazy" themselves right out of a deal -- with everyone.

    They will then wake up and smell the Internet and realize they could have been a big part of it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Ben (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:23am

    @Rose

    Why create we start a kickstarter project to buy the labels and shut them down? :oD

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:39am

    If "something" needs to be done...

    it will probably involve lawyers. As in, "somebody else found a new way for people to enjoy their music. Let's see if we can't monetize the hard work and ingenuity of others. Again."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    pegr, May 10th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Why buy them?

    Why buy them? They are effectively killing themselves already.

    When your enemy is making a terrible mistake, don't interrupt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Invites

    The Google Music site is not responding at the moment, probably won't be online until after the I/O conference starts. When it comes up, if anyone gets any invites, spread the love. If I manage to get one, I'll do the same.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    john, May 10th, 2011 @ 7:50am

    The labels have never conceded that you are allowed to make any copies of your music--ripping a CD, backups, copying to a hard drive--without a license.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      DannyB (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 7:57am

      The labels need to embrace technology

      I know how they will do it!

      Mandatory brain implant chips inserted at birth. Whenever you hear any copyrighted music, your credit card is automatically charged.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:51am

        Re: The labels need to embrace technology

        Also, if you hum or sing the song, you get slammed with copyright infringement and public performance. Even if you are alone, because the public is you

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:18am

      Re:

      and I never sought their permission ;-)

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      harbingerofdoom (profile), May 10th, 2011 @ 9:59am

      Re:

      pretty sure thats readily apparent and painfully obvious.
      the only question i have for you on your point is:

      who the hell cares?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:09am

    Google could start to contacting Jamendo and Magnatune and whomever is on the list of the MP3 Music Downloader app that is on the Android Market, so they at least will have some music to spread.

    I read somewhere(maybe Boing Boing) that a public library has bought a license to stream all the music from Magnatune for 10K a year.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/05/09/ann-arbor-library-ac.html

    Now we can all go out and buy a necomimi(Translation: cat ears, but this one is controlled by your brain waves) LoL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 8:24am

    Screw the Real Ignorant Asshats of America

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    NullOp, May 10th, 2011 @ 9:00am

    Music locker

    I would like to think this sets a precedent in telling RIAA to take-a-hike. OF COURSE, RIAA wanted licensing. OF COURSE, there were ludicrous restrictions. And in the end, "No", you don't need to license your own music to listen to it.

    Ridiculous
    Ignorant
    Arrogant
    A....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 9:07am

    Sorry, when I purchased the CD I never agreed to anything. I should be able to put my 'stuff' where I want it.

    The Labels, on the other hand, got my money. I'd say that's about when they should have started leaving me alone.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 11:21am

    oh sh*t i have been waiting for this for the longest time, it's about time we left the old people behind.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 10th, 2011 @ 11:33am

    So I can create a google account, upload 20K songs, go to another computer, create another account, upload 20K songs, (repeat) and then sell the second account to someone else for 20K songs. Even at $100 that is a great deal compared to anything else available online.

    Let's not get into making an entire album "one song" and now you have 20K albums...

    Lot of ways to manipulate this monetarily.

    Does seem easier to simply give the music away for free and charge for access to said free music...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    MetalSamurai, May 10th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

    Why US only?

    Given there are no licensing issues, as users are playing their own music, why is this not worldwide?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This