Posted by Zach Shaw on Tue, May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am
Google’s long awaited music cloud service has been derailed for over a year now thanks to breakdowns in licensing negotiations. However, now it looks like the Amazon Cloud inspired Google to go in a similar route, something we’re sure labels were afraid of happening. It was revealed last night that Google would officially unveil their own music locker service, called the Music Beta, without any licensing deals during their keynote address at today’s I/O conference in San Francisco.
In other words, Google is following similar suit as Amazon and moving forward without the labels approval. The current version of Music Beta might not be exactly what Google originally envisioned, but negotiations between Google and labels reportedly made things very difficult. Google director of content partnerships Zahavah Levine said the following to Billboard:
“We’ve been in negotiations with the industry for a different set of features, with mixed results. [But] a couple of major labels were less focused on innovation and more on demanding unreasonable and unsustainable business terms.”
However, Levine reiterated how Google is still hoping to reach licensing agreements with labels soon, saying:
“A large segment of the music industry worked cooperatively and was extremely helpful sorting out the issues of online licensing. We certainly remain open to partnerships with the music industry for new features and functionality. This is the beginning of what we hope will be a long relationship with music and users and helping users engage with music and artist and fans.”
Though Google Music Beta will allow users to upload music to a personal storage locker and to stream it from any PC or Android device, like the Amazon Cloud, users are limited to uploading 20,000 songs. There has been no word as to whether pricing options will be available in the future. Also, while Music Beta is free, users have to request an invite at google.music.com, with priority given to those with the Motorola Xoom tablet and to attendees of the I/O conference, and is limited to U.S. residents. You can check out more features of the Music Beta over at Billboard.biz.
Even though it might not be the ideal music locker Google wanted, this still serves as a major disappointment for the music labels. Now with two major companies launching their own services without them, you’d have to think that labels are beginning to realize that the ball is no longer in their court, and they might need to renegotiate for less than they’re demanding. We’ll keep you posted when more develops.