Will Google Music be a lock(er)?

Search giant reportedly negotiating with record labels to approve cloud-storage service

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According to Matt Rosoff over at Business Insider, Google is willing to shell out "tens of millions of dollars" to the major record companies so they'll buy into the search giant's proposed music service.

Google's plan, Rosoff writes, is to build "a music locker that will let users store music files that they already own in the cloud, then stream that music to Android phones and other devices."

The problem is that the big four record companies -- Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, EMI Group and Warner Music Group, which together account for more than 70 percent of music sales worldwide -- have never much cared for music lockers, if lawsuits against music locker companies such as MP3.com and MP3Tunes are any indication.

You see, the music companies think it's a copyright violation for people to buy music, store it in the cloud and then be able to listen to that music on whatever device they choose to use. The nerve of some people who own music stored in the cloud!

Google apparently believes that paying the Big Four enough money will make them finally appreciate the virtues of music lockers. To that end, Rosoff writes, the company earlier this year hired Elizabeth Moody, a music technology lawyer, to lead negotiations.

So will Google win its battle to get the Big Four to sign off on a music locker, or will it opt instead for a subscription-based streaming service such as Spotify and Rhapsody, as has been rumored? Hard to say.

But one thing is for certain: The music companies, as they always have, will fight to the death to wring every penny out of consumers in order to maximize prof-- I mean, the music companies will fight to the death to defend the rights of their beloved artists. Because that's what the music companies have always done.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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