Mobile

Google: We’re working on music distribution, but negotiations are tough

music cloudGoogle today announced its new cloud music service, which allows users to upload their music and play it from various devices. What it doesn’t offer, however, is a way to purchase new music. That doesn’t mean Google isn’t interested in music sales and distribution, said Jaimie Rosenberg, the company’s director of digital content.

Why weren’t music sales part of today’s news? Rosenberg, who was speaking at the Google I/O conference in San Francisco, said Google has been trying to hammer out deals with the music labels, but some labels have only wanted to sell music through Google on terms that the company considered “unsustainable.” (This has been cited in the past as a reason why startups shouldn’t go into the music business.) So Google Music Beta is currently limited to what Rosenberg called a “completely legal service” for accessing “the music collection that the user already owns in the cloud.”

Rosenberg added that the company is definitely still interested in music distribution and that it has gotten a positive response from musicians and independent labels. It sounds like we can probably expect some kind of music store from Google in the future, though the major labels may not be a part of it.

During the press question-and-answer session, one reporter asked why Google Music Beta is limited to the United States — since it didn’t require approval from the labels, why isn’t it launching everywhere? Android founder Andy Rubin said it’s always a challenge to launch a service worldwide. Google is releasing the service on a limited basis, then incorporating feedback and expanding.


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