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.

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

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42 Comments
Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Dan (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: 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.

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Huph (user link) says:

Re: 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!

harbingerofdoom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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

Nicedoggy says:

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

Anonymous Coward says:

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…

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