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Why Google Should Buy the Music Industry

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the alright-larry-here's-a-project-for-you dept.

Google 472

Glyn Moody writes "According to one story about Google's attempts to launch its own music service, 'the search giant is "disgusted" with the labels, so much so that they are seriously considering following Amazon's lead and launching their music cloud service without label licenses.' So here's a simple solution: Google should just buy the major record labels — all of them. It could afford them — people tend to forget that the music industry is actually relatively small in economic terms, but wields a disproportionate influence with policy makers. Buying them would solve that problem too."

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While they're at it... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834486)

Can they buy the movie industry too?

Don't be evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834498)

What part of "Don't be evil" do you not understand?

Re:Don't be evil (5, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834642)

What part of "Don't be evil" do you not understand?

If Google would buy one or more of the music labels they would simply refine their definition of 'evil'. Many companies to it every day (and the Google may have already done it once or twice itself).

Re:Don't be evil (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834742)

I would say buying the legacy music industry and fixing them would be expressly non-evil?

Re:Don't be evil (2)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834834)

Monopolies are bad.

Re:Don't be evil (3, Interesting)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834952)

True, but we already have an oligopoly (major labels) that only exists because of state-backed monopolies (copyright), and the purposes of the acquisition would be to reverse the harm that said oligopoly has caused. In this hypothetical, Google might not even be trying to make any money off of the acquisition, since basically, the music industry's pigheadedness costs them more than the value of the music industry.

Re:Don't be evil (2)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834958)

Buy it, flip it, sell it!

Re:Don't be evil (3, Interesting)

CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834984)

They could buy one major and lead by example. It'd probably be all that's needed to drag them all into the 21th century. I'm not sure I'd trust Google not to use the opportunity to take a low blow at Apple though and that's one thing the industry doesn't need.

Thats (3, Insightful)

MrQuacker (1938262) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834512)

so crazy that it might just work.

Oblig Discworld Logic (3, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834526)

It's a million to one shot, therefore inevitable.

Re:Thats (3, Insightful)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834860)

It's so crazy that it would inevitably lead to anti-trust bullshit and Google would be split into search and a bunch of different record labels. In other words, it wouldn't happen.

Honestly... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834522)

I don't know why Microsoft haven't a decade ago. Unless it would just be such an obvious target for Antitrust types...

Re:Honestly... (3, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834580)

You know, I wonder about this sometimes. Despite the epic saga which is Microsoft, Bill Gates actually seems like the kind of guy who wants to make the world a bit better (for instance, see Project Tuva). If I was a man with a hundred billion dollars, I'd have no qualms spending half of that to make several very real and important problems in the world simply "go away."

Political backpressure shouldn't be a problem no matter what you do, since with that much cash you could easily buy the government along with whatever else you want to buy.

Re:Honestly... (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834852)

One reason might be that while the movie and music industries insanity is a disadvantage for them, it's a disadvantage for everyone else as well, and essentially raises the barrier to entry for competition. They have to deal with the RIAA's garbage, but comparatively, they are harmed less than their competitors, and thus gain a competitive advantage.

Re:Honestly... (2, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834968)

You know, I wonder about this sometimes. Despite the epic saga which is Microsoft, Bill Gates actually seems like the kind of guy who wants to make the world a bit better (for instance, see Project Tuva). If I was a man with a hundred billion dollars, I'd have no qualms spending half of that to make several very real and important problems in the world simply "go away."

Political backpressure shouldn't be a problem no matter what you do, since with that much cash you could easily buy the government along with whatever else you want to buy.

Do keep in mind that Bill developed a conscience after departing the helm of Microsoft. Doing good works after being a ruthless business man (to accumulate a vast fortune) is a time-honored tradition, usually something to do with trying to polish a turd .. I mean legacy.

Great idea... (3, Insightful)

nebaz (453974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834534)

You think there are rumblings about monopolistic practices now, imagine if the owned the whole music industry. Plus why would you want to buy the music industry? That would be like buying cattle with mad-cow disease.

Re:Great idea... (3, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834600)

How about if several companies split it? Google's not the only one who would like to remove the RIAA. Amazon could buy some, and Apple might like having its own artists for iTunes. Microsoft. Netflix. All the companies that make MP3 players. All of them (and the consumer) would benefit from control of music being transferred from the current owners to themselves.

Re:Great idea... (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834896)

Except then instead of iTunes having music from all the labels, they'd only be able to sell the music from just their own label. Better to win market dominance in selling all the music vs. the other stores, and use that pressure to make higher profits for yourself.

Re:Great idea... (1)

praxis (19962) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834618)

Are independent artists not considered part of their industry?

Re:Great idea... (2)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834690)

Not if you have vertical integration so tight that you shut out the concept of independent artists.

Of course, no one's talking about that—but just sayin'.

Re:so tight (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834848)

I'll reply to you.

If they just bought the lead labels but promised not to sue, let the indies do as they may, I'd like to see that matchup!

Re:Great idea... (4, Funny)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834694)

Are independent artists not considered part of their industry?

Yes they are ... just like Win Phone 7 is considered part of the smartphone landscape ;-)

Re:Great idea... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834880)

independent artists are generally not part of the problem

Re:Great idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834622)

Exactly, you could purchase them and change them to make money.. However it is more likely they would implode. Also just think of all those lobbyists and middle men that would loose their jobs ;)

A Better Idea... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834906)

You think there are rumblings about monopolistic practices now, imagine if the owned the whole music industry.

Yes, but they could certainly buy significant interests in publicly traded music companies... They need not buy the whole thing to influence corporate policy.

Re:Great idea... (2)

KublaiKhan (522918) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835002)

Perhaps the idea can be refined.

If Google were to partner with Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon and buy up the whole shebang, it could be reformatted into something more useful for everyone--say, some kind of not-for-profit venture (and hence not interested in competition, meaning that the smaller labels wouldn't be squashed) that focused on distributing music to people and money to the artists, and promoting the work of various artists of merit.

You know, like how the RIAA was originally supposed to be.

Providing standard, known licensing terms to everybody as part of the setup, so everyone could compete on the same ground, would probably do more to help the music industry than anything else.

The reason I suggest a 'partnership' of this sort is to prevent any monopolistic tendencies--regardless of the intent to not be evil, owning the vast majority of the music industry does more or less amount to a monopoly, and the SEC won't like that.

I love the idea (0)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834536)

But for some reason, I think the regulators would never approve of Google buying ALL the major record labels.

The problem is they are concerned about creations of monopolies or use of acquisitions for anticompetitive practices.

Re:I love the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834590)

Disagree. The major labels don't have a monopoly anymore, several independent labels have sold a respectable number of records in recent years.

Re:I love the idea (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834594)

Well, Google could buy one or two, Amazon another one to two, and so on (I don't know how many "and so on"s are necessary because I don't know how many record labels there are... is there a label per vinyl copy, or...?)

Re:I love the idea (1)

xMrFishx (1956084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834608)

How about going 50-50 with Amazon? Just buy the lot together, and then fire all the idiots at the top.

Re:I love the idea (2)

zelbinion (442226) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834918)

Well, probably that would run afoul of anti-trust as well. However...

If Google did a hostile take over of, say, two of the major labels, and then immediately offered favorable licensing terms to apple, amazon, and microsoft; then apple, amazon, and microsoft might get a clue as to what google was doing, and each of them might buy up a few labels themselves, and reciprocate the licensing deals with google. End result: everyone except the RIAA and the top music execs win, and no anti-trust. As long as there is no collusion or under the table agreement between any of the parties, it could work... I think it would just take someone to set the example of the new business model.

Re:I love the idea (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835024)

End result: everyone except the RIAA and the top music execs win

You seem to be missing the biggest flaw in the entire plan: A corporation cannot simply "buy" another corporation without said corporation "approving" such a transaction, and it's the RIAA and top music execs that would have the biggest hand in the "buyee" side of the acquisition process. I don't think they would accept a transaction in which they do not "win".

PS why did I use so many "quotation marks"?

Re:I love the idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834740)

It's particularly amusing that the US government, which itself *creates* a monopoly in music, doesn't want anyone to have a monopoly on the monopoly. Hey! Those bastards are monopolizing the monopoly! Get 'em!

Re:I love the idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834964)

Bingo!

This is actually... (3, Insightful)

Cjstone (1144829) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834550)

A very, very bad idea. Google has enough power over content as it is. I'd hate to see them gain even more. Google already controls the most popular search engine and the most popular video hosting site (at least in the US. I'm not sure about the rest of the world.) Imagine if you could only find, say, music videos as youtube "rentals," or had to use a Google TV box for streaming internet radio. Sure, a lot of those technologies are open right now, and Google's motto is "do no evil," but do you really believe that Google wouldn't be able to lock their content down in an instant if their shareholders demanded it?

Re:This is actually... (1)

englishknnigits (1568303) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834996)

I sort of agree but at the same time, could they actually make it any worse? It would be hard to imagine a more poorly run, idiotic industry than the music industry.

Music, Movie. (3, Interesting)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834554)

They should just buy those industries, and get the world rid of a plague. These industries' interest pushing is preventing all kinds of technological innovations and breakthroughs. A LOT of them affect major internet companies like google.

Re:Music, Movie. (1)

F.Ultra (1673484) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835008)

Yeah, but why buy them and reward the bastards with more money? Google et al could easily start their own label and try to attract talent.

Re:Music, Movie. (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835070)

you need to take existing talent off of them. and setting up a new label and doing that will take longer.

Re:Music, Movie. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35835080)

But then what other useful idiots could wannabe-fascist governments find as excuses for invasive internet censorship and filtering? Oh right, the movie industry, child porn, terrorism...

Corporate death penalty (4, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834560)

Microsoft, Google and Apple should buy them all, share the IP rights and then liquidate the corporations. Can you imagine the "W.... T.... F....." reaction in this country if the tech industry finally said "ENOUGH OF THIS SHIT!!!" and brought to bear its ~$1T in net worth to bear on this $50B pest?

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834588)

And all the artists under contract sue Google.

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834698)

What's the sum value of those contracts? Pay them off.

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834714)

The lion's share of artists never see any money from their records past the initial advance, so they wouldn't really see any harm.

Re:Corporate death penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834640)

$50 billion? Is that all? That's only $166.67/person in the US if you assume US pop.==300 million.

Googe et. al. could slip this into the next budget and have their minions threaten to freeze the debt ceiling and crash the world econ... oh, forgot. Not to be doing evil. Ummm... well, surely they can think of something. Spending your own money is for amateurs. Find a way to get the taxpayers to do it. I wouldn't mind paying $200 to not have to worry about those slimeballs for the rest of my life.

Re:Corporate death penalty (1, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834674)

What makes you think Microsoft, Google and Apple would behave any better?

Re:Corporate death penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834738)

I'd hope there would be at least a mild amount of technical competence with MSFT, GOOGLE and Apple...

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834942)

They already own large corporations that successfully sell copyrighted intellectual property, and manage to have a business model which doesn't revolve around suing their own customers.

Re:Corporate death penalty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35835054)

Ever heard of the BSA?

Re:Corporate death penalty (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834702)

Right now I'm picturing the totally meltdown on slashdot. Not just because we'd all be overjoyed to see the music industry annihilated and rebuilt, but because we'd actually have (at least in part) Microsoft and Apple to thank for it.

Oh it's fun to dream silly dreams.

As long as they remember that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834562)

...with great power comes great responsibility.

We can only hope such a takeover... (2)

cplusplus (782679) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834574)

...would be hostile.

Re:We can only hope such a takeover... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834692)

With extreme prejudice.

Re:We can only hope such a takeover... (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834970)

And a pitchfork. Because that is necessary for awesome to be achieved.

The real value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834610)

"wields a disproportionate influence with policy makers"

That alone may be a good enough reason for google to buy them.

If Google bought music labels (3, Insightful)

ugen (93902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834656)

If Google bought music labels - then there is little doubt that Amazon music service, iTunes and other direct Google competitors services would be out of licenses and out of business shortly. Isn't that obvious? What interest would Google have to provide these competing services with creative work licenses? None whatsoever.

Re:If Google bought music labels (2)

Microlith (54737) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834904)

And why would Google take actions that would be seen as blatantly anti-competitive? Even Microsoft was more subtle than that.

Re:If Google bought music labels (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834990)

why wouldn't it? :) It would be a monopoly and it would most certainly exercise monopoly power. it does so now where able - I don't see why that would change.

I know /. is for geeks, and you hold a skewed view of what motivates business. But google is not lead by geeks (any claims to the contrary notwithstanding). They are a business and the only thing that motivates them is making the most money. That's how you make the most money ;)

Re:If Google bought music labels (3, Interesting)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834936)

If Google bought music labels - then there is little doubt that Amazon music service, iTunes and other direct Google competitors services would be out of licenses and out of business shortly. Isn't that obvious? What interest would Google have to provide these competing services with creative work licenses? None whatsoever.

Google sells eyeballs to advertisers. If Google were to make all major label music free as in beer, then itunes et al would no longer be competitive but not because of monopolistic advantage by Google but for the same reason no one makes money selling air.

No one seriously complains that WebM being free hurts the market for 4C's h264 patent portfolio. Or that WebP hurts the JPEG patent holders.

Re:If Google bought music labels (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834972)

The only possible way that such an acquisition could go through is if Google agreed to license its content out at fair market value to its competitors. Remember, monopolies aren't illegal; antitrusts are.

Android kills iOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834662)

So what happens to Apple if Google controls the music industry? If iTunes songs cost more than their usual 99c (US) will people still buy them? What Would Apple Do if all those gangster rappers are holding Android phones in their music videos because Google pays for their bling?

I wonder if Apple might try to buy the music industry first, they (in my opinion) have enough money and a much larger vested interest. If no one can afford the other to have it the real question becomes: Who will make the first move?

Another way to kill it (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834676)

Host a completely free website for artists. They can post new songs that the artists own the copyright, sell them on the site, 100% revenue go back to the artists. Google will eat the transaction charge. Google will also invite top the chart (google's chart) artist to preform at Googles' campus, sponsor them to play at colleges.

Re:Another way to kill it (3, Informative)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834850)

Jamendo and others already do this. You can donate to the artists, or buy commercial licences. There's a lot of good music there, more than I really even have time to listen too. Every once in a while you run into something better than 'good' as well.

Monopoly much? (1)

curtix7 (1429475) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834684)

Isn't there some kind of law about not owning an entire industry?

Re:Monopoly much? (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835000)

Nope, monopolies are perfectly legal. It's the "Sherman Antitrust Act", and it prohibits anti-competitive practices. Monopolies are fine, so long as they don't act in a way to prevent competition from forming. This usually is handled by requiring monopolies to license their services at fair market rates to their competitors.

I'm not sold on that idea (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834722)

Part of the music industry (OK, a rather small part now) is about producing a physical product - actual albums. Google really doesn't have experience in that; the most significant physical product they ever made was a phone and it was a bomb. If they took the music industry and then abandoned the practice of making albums in favor of making all new music download-only, they would only further disenfranchise certain types of listeners.

And few companies are worse at recognizing the significance in customer differences than google...

New company motto. (4, Funny)

martinux (1742570) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834730)

Hear no evil?

Wouldn't it be more effective to buy the US Gov? (4, Insightful)

Rivalz (1431453) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834732)

I think that the music industry is already grossly overvalued and would not be a wise investment.
The US Government on the other hand that would be a valuable investment if they could just find a way to buy them off in bulk.
Lets do the math.
1 Prez, 1 VP, Chief of Staff, Secretary of state ect, Cabinet lets round that to 65 for ease
100 Senators
435 House of Rep
As of January 2009, a total of 3,200 Fed Judges
So we have about 4,000 monkeys to buy. Per year
Average salary is probably around 180k. So we will offer them 10x the amount per year or 1.8 Million per worker.
For only 7.2 Billion per year I think I could effectively own the entire federal government.
I think google can swing that.

Re:Wouldn't it be more effective to buy the US Gov (4, Insightful)

brainboyz (114458) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834812)

If someone weren't already doing just that, I would be scared of that happening.

why? (0)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834736)

Why should google buy an irrelevant industry with a bunch of imaginary property and pretend rights?

Re:why? (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834890)

To make them go away. Google is incredibly frustrated with the terms that the big labels are insisting on if google wants to do cloud distribution of music, and the labels have the power to set whatever arcane rules they feel like. If google bought that power out from underneath them, they would instantly get what they want, and be in a position to market those same rights to their competitors for a fair market value.

Re:why? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834924)

because google makes money attracting eyes and ears with content, buying up what is effectively a content factory would be very useful

Re:why? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835044)

Because that industry is getting in the way of Google making more money. If buying the record labels costs Google $50B and the result of their absence nets Google an additional $100B, then they are making a profit.

It will never happen (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834746)

Major acquisitions like that would be subject to a regulatory review, and would never survive it. The threat of buying up an entire industry is exactly why anti-trust laws were created.

I would shed no tear for record labels if they disappeared, but it won't happen by one company buying them all up.

Re:It will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834922)

Then buy all the talent. If you outbid the labels for the artists then they have no copyrights to leverage. It would be easy to do by just offering higher royalty percentages than the .1% they currently receive. The up front cost would be non-existent if they offered 10% and cut the price of media to $.20/song. It would essentially double their pay, and the DoJ will have no sympathy for the douchebags tying up the legal system and responsible for payolla.

Wrong way of looking at it (1)

doctor_no (214917) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834758)

First, its called a monopoly. And already government scrutiny is strict when large record labels merge, much less when a company like a Google goes out to buy them.

Second, labels are ultimately as good as their artists. Even if hypothetically Google were able to overcome the international regulatory scrutiny to create a music monopoly, it doesn't guarantee that future artists will necessarily sign with the Google label. The reality of course is that in a competitive market new labels will arise, which the next great artist could sign with if the terms are better, the real question becomes how will Google's monetary compensation compare with artist's realistic expectations.

What the music industry needs isn't a corporate behemoth to rule music and parasitically take a cut between the artist and the consumer, it needs a better business model, a more efficient way to commoditize digital media that gives creators fair compensation for their work relative to the realties of the ubiquity of piracy.

But who will monopolize the monopolizers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834796)

Sorry, I don't really think a music monoculture is what I want.

Buy and Fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834800)

If Google wanted to buy out the record labels just to fire all of their top executives and lawyers, I would DONATE MONEY.

I for one welcome... (5, Interesting)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834820)

Why is the solution to every problem of the Information Age a benevolent Google dictatorship?

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

nsteinme (909988) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835006)

mod parent up!!

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835018)

Because we all want to see change, it takes a giant-ass lever to move the world, and Google's reasonably close to trustworthy.

Re:I for one welcome... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35835068)

I'd rather have a giant ass-lever.

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

Ruke (857276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835038)

Because a democracy means that Anonymous gets most of the votes.

Google tends to treat its customers fairly well. They deliver high-quality products. They've earned a fair bit of trust, especially compared with Microsoft and Yahoo.

Re:I for one welcome... (1)

chargersfan420 (1487195) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835058)

Because they do no evil...?

(for select definitions of evil, of course)

Android kills iOS? (1)

cacoyi (806655) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834830)

So what happens to Apple if Google controls the music industry? If iTunes songs cost more than their usual 99c (US) will people still buy them? What Would Apple Do if all those gangster rappers are holding Android phones in their music videos because Google pays for their bling? I wonder if Apple might try to buy the music industry first, they (in my opinion) have enough money and a much larger vested interest. If no one can afford the other to have it the real question becomes: Who will make the first move?

Re:Android kills iOS? (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834944)

google would do no such thing, even if the DOJ would tolerate such an action, cutting off sales of a profitable acquisition though a major platform is the kind of thing apple would do, not google.

I think Apple would have something to say about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834862)

I think Apple would have something to say about it. They have a lot more cash and music is already far more integral to their ecosystem.

This has happened before. (4, Insightful)

bored (40072) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834872)

Think Sony, made nice hardware for a fair price. Then they started buying "content providers". Turns out the content providers took over and Sony has been going downhill for two decades now.

Google or Amazon buying record labels would ruin Google/Amazon

CIAA (1)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834876)

I don't know why Google, Apple and MicroSoft don't create a consortium to do this, something akin to the RIAA. Maybe like the CIA-A. (Content Industry Association of America). That would alleviate any "monopoly" concerns.

Re:CIAA (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835052)

so to avoid monopoly concerns they should form a trust.

BRILLIANT

Not just Google (1)

steveha (103154) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834878)

Before you post a comment about how the antitrust authorities would never permit Google to buy all the music industry, read TFA or at least this extract:

Of course, the anti-trust authorities around the world would definitely have something to say about this, so it might be necessary to tweak the idea a little.

How about if a consortium of leading Internet companies - Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. - jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis?

steveha

contracts (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35834884)

this is something I've noticed when tech companies interact with the arts in general, not just music, they don't get why objects (artists) get different contracts, different rates, different conditions per object (artist). To them, it makes things messy, and doesn't compute with their nicely ordered databases. They would, honestly prefer it if everyone got the same contract, and the same terms, and the same rates etc. This multitude of bespoke contracts, throughout the ages, makes deals damned tricky to do. And slow, and each one has to be negotiated with: tech company of the month with hot idea of the moment, and all those artists, and their managers, etc.

This isn't some mea culpa for the music biz, I did my time there and it wasn't pretty, but it's how it is for a number of reasons: greed of execs is one, vanity of artists, artifice of managers is a significant another. My experience with another tech company in music is that they have little patience for the A side of A&R, they just want the platitudes and the sales, no people management duties please.

However, you're dealing with people a lot of the time, and I honestly don't think these tech companies want to admit that. They just want entries in a db, and to move on to the next problem that will help them sell their hardware||software.

It wouldn't work (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834888)

It would get caught up in antitrust suits faster that you can say 'It'll be caught up in antitrust suits', & I'm pretty sure someone would shot in the whole mess too. Don't worry, it's not like they where sticking around anyways; it won't be long now! 3

It makes sense (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834910)

This actually makes a lot of sense. Consider.

Either Google music service can make money (ad supported or whatever) or not. Either they're making a profit on the backs of the music industry, stealing the very food from Howard Stringer's grandchildren, or they're not. If not, Google should be able to own the entire industry and make money from it.

Alternately, they could buy the music industry, dissolve the companies, and put the entire catalog on their servers. New content would then come from much smaller, independent producers.

Free the Bands from the RIAA (4, Insightful)

BuckaBooBob (635108) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834928)

Why not just approach all bands popular that have due contracts and sign them and start their own less restrictive label and bring change to the industry...

This will cause the Music Industry to Panic and make bands sign very long term contracts with very restrictive conditions which will make bands turn away from any label associated with the RIAA..

Once Google has success things will begin to change... and its highly likely Googles success will also been seen by artists unlike what goes on with the RIAA labels where artists see is the short end of the stick of success..

(Is that coffee I smell... I must be dreaming)

With all of its power (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834940)

Google should go scouting for GOOD music on their own. Plenty of music available for free like on http://www.ektoplazm.com/ [ektoplazm.com] I'm sure those artists would be more then happy to be offered distribution by Google and getting paid properly by the G-Lable

That is what the labels are dreaming for. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 3 years ago | (#35834946)

The record labels are stuck with a business model that is fast losing ground and along with that their market valuation is plunging. In a decade, forget Google, you or I can buy it with the nickels and dimes we find in sofa cushions. Already serious people have dumped the stock, and it is owned by the lawyer groups and the music equivalents of patent trolls. They are already dreaming, they would be able to sue Google and force it buy it from them.

They should buy the patent trolls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35835042)

Buy up the MPEG LA and Thompson and make all their patents royaty free forever. Then buy flash from adobe and make it open source. That way more innovation can flourish and real talent will have easier barriers to entry.

Better Yet - (2)

ChronoFish (948067) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835050)

Buy each in series....

For each label do the following:

Buy label, replace management, place Google employee's on the board of directors, spin off label.

Google doesn't have to own them all simultaneously. They just need to get rid of the industry management and replace them with people who are friendly to the customers and search engines of the world. Google could hold a major stake in each company - but keep the % low enough not to warrant a fed investigation.

-CF

EMI is for sale. (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35835082)

EMI [guardian.co.uk] is for sale, as of three days ago. They're owned by Citicorp, the bank. A venture capital firm defaulted on their debt, and Citicorp ended up with EMI. Citicorp wants to unload that unwanted asset for cash.

There was talk of Warner buying EMI, but Warner has financing problems of their own. Either Google or Apple could easily pick up EMI right now.

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