Record labels rage over Google’s unlicensed Music Beta

“Google Music’s May 10 launch was driven in part by competition (Amazon, Apple) and indecision, including the dollar figure labels were demanding as an upfront advance,” Antony Bruno reports for Billboard.

“Google’s decision to launch a music locker service was a big topic of discussion on the sidelines of the NARM conference in Los Angeles this week,” Bruno reports. “The reaction from the more veteran music industry attendees is simply anger. ‘People are pissed,’ said one source from a major record label in attendance.”

Bruno reports, “Google ultimately went live with what it did for two reasons. First, it had completed work on its new music player app for Android devices six weeks prior to the music locker launch. Google wanted to get that app into the marketplace. Another motivating factor was Amazon’s recent launch of the Cloud Drive. And finally Apple’s upcoming launch that many expect to happen by late spring or early summer.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google Music Beta is a kludgey, Adobe Flash-based, glorified network-capable backup drive that doesn’t sell music and is no threat whatsoever to Apple. Google and Amazon, with their own kludgey glorified network-capable backup drive, can duke it out over Apple’s table scraps this time while Android settlers, as they’re so accustomed to doing, settle once again, this time for an inferior music experience, a situation with which they’re already intimately familiar.

Related articles:
VentureBeat: Google’s Music Beta is a miserable, frustrating experience – May 11, 2011
Music labels: Apple’s cloud music service to make Amazon’s and Google’s efforts look shabby – May 11, 2011
Without music labels, Google’s music locker will look like Apple’s ugly sibling – again – May 10, 2011
Google to launch ‘Music Beta by Google’ without licensing from music labels – May 10, 2011


  1. Google seems to be immune from lawsuits fired at them. Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, et al take their best shot at Google which seems to bounce off like Teflon. What kind of legal team do they have?

    1. Google’s not immune from lawsuits, lawsuits just take a long time working their way through the courts. While Apple builds up an arsenal of patents, Google is building up an incredible cache of lawsuits. When these lawsuits finally get to trial in a couple years, Google will need to employ half the attorneys in California to defend themselves.

      BTW, what kind of name is “Ballmer’s Left Nut”? I cringe every time I see your nickname as I fight to keep the image out of my mind.

      1. It’s a play on Ballmer being a nut from left field. Seeing the recent crazy moves he’s made – buying Skype for $8.5 billion – I don’t think I’m that far out calling him a nutter. ‘Ballmer’s a nutter’ for a nick would be too obvious and not be as much fun twisting the minds of readers here.

        1. I too cringe at the sight of your nickname… thanks for twisting my mind with that lamentable image… may i suggest “Balmy Ballmer” for a new monicker… he is more daffy than nuts.

      2. In the due time, chickens coming home to rooster. Google will not only shell out billions dollar, but also a couple of executives may have some jail time. Like teenage play with fire.

  2. Is Google one of the largest companies in the world or a bunch of amateurs? They do business like little kids selling lemonade without a permit (only it’s not cute and might draw the ire of legal action).

    Seems to me that this next leap in the way we consume music is just going to further differentiate Apple and show (yawn, yet again) that Cupertino builds far better products than the also-rans.

  3. This is all bunk. Licences are need yet again so we cam listen to and enjoy our music, you know the tracks we purchased.

    I call on everyone to pirate their music and send the writers a few bucks. Skip these greedy record labels.

    1. Even so when was the last time you write a personal check to the artist? What’s stopping from doing so now?

      There’s plenty of reasons to hate on the music labels, but posturing about how you’re “supporting” the artist while not doing anything is not any better.

  4. Let them rage. Google and Amazon are on the side of the user here. I bought music once, I should be able to listen to it wherever I want. The labels act as if I’m just renting the music.

    1. Exactly! I’m confused as to when MDN chose to become an ally to the music cartels. All they do is stifle innovation and progress while taking an unearned chunk of the pie.

    2. Lets go back 15 years. If you bought an album, you had that physical media. If you wanted a copy at work, home, car, vacation house, etc. you probably had to buy more copies, or go through the physical process of recording to a tape, or carting the album with you. Recording artists depended on the fact that if you are sharing the song with friends or getting multiple uses, then you’d have to buy more copies.
      Why do you assume the right to be able to have the song on multiple machines in multiple locations and share it with anyone you like just because you spent 99¢?
      Everyone is complaining about the cost of a song; part of the profit to an artist was in the limited availability/durability of the media. Not that perfect copies last forever, I would actually assume that music should cost more for this immortal, portable, pristine format.
      But yet we continue to bitch about the unfairness of it all……

      1. If I had a CD, I could take it with me and play it in my living room, or in my car, or in my sony walkman. ONE copy, multiple machines.

        Now, the music cartels want me to buy a copy for each machine? Fuck em.

  5. Mobile me & dropbox both offer this same functionality already if you think about it, but what google & amazon have done wrong here is market it solely to music & limit the functionality of their cloud storage services.

    Seems like a marketer thought of these instead of an engineer or designer

    1. Not really. “Pissed” doesn’t mean that he’s drunk like some folks overseas use the word. In the US one can be pissed at something as well as being pissed off at something.

  6. The music industry is not going to win this argument. What Google is offering is, essentially, a backup service. Since most music is delivered electronically today, users need to back it up and cloud backup is a reasonable solution.

    The music industry is just being greedy – they want to charge music buyers more than once for the same music – once for every device they want to play it on. That is never going to happen – consumers will never stand for it.

    In the days of LPs we all made copies on tape to play in our cars, or our portable tape decks, or on our walkmans. With electronic music, we want to do the same thing and play the music on our computers, our iPods, and our iPads. What we are buying is just data – and whether we download it, or stream it, to one or other device, we are simply reading a data file.

    This debate may rage for some time, but as soon as one music publisher “sees the light” and changes their policy, the rest will have to follow. And Apple, Google or Amazon may simply buy a large music publisher and force the issue if the industry drags its heels.

    The same will be true in the movie industry. Once everything is digital, we will buy the data and use it how we choose.

  7. Wouldn’t uploading one’s music library allow for music laundering? I mean, how does anyone know that music is legitimately owned? It could all be P2Pd from filesharing sites, and once you upload it, Google may instead of keeping individual copies, might ID your songs, and just keep one copy for all its users. If I were a label, the “potential” laundering of music by Amazon and Google would piss me off.

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