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Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the they'll-never-stop-arguing dept.

Music 220

An anonymous reader writes "Google has sent out press invitations to an event on Wednesday where it's expected they'll unveil their long-rumored Google Music download service. CNET reports that while Google already has an agreement in place with Universal, talks with Sony and Warner Music Group are still in progress, and won't be finished by the time Google Music launches. 'The negotiations between Google and the labels by and large have not gone well for either side. The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how, money, and Internet presence to give iTunes a run for its money. ... Yet, the company is once again launching a major part of its music service without acquiring licenses and this may serve to widen the rift between the company and some of the labels. '"

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220 comments

Google should just buy the RIAA! (5, Insightful)

ksd1337 (1029386) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036844)

The RIAA is relatively small. Google should just buy the entire thing.

Re:Google should just buy the RIAA! (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036912)

Do you mean "buy the whole music industry"?

Re:Google should just buy the RIAA! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036924)

Why not?

Re:Google should just buy the RIAA! (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037162)

"Do you mean "buy the whole music industry"?"

Yes.

That would pulverize the current attack dogs when all those lobbyists are owned by the (relatively benign) Google.

Just suppose? Google gives out free songs. In return for its other deals.

Then the Smarms on Washington would be crushed.

Re:Google should just buy the RIAA! (1, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037296)

The music industry consists of musicians and they won't deal with google unless they want to.

Have you listened to big label music lately? (5, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037358)

The music industry consists of fit, attractive dancers whose voices autotune well and they won't deal with Google unless they have to, which they will because they only care about the money and fame.

FTFY.

Re:Have you listened to big label music lately? (3, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037500)

The music industry consists of fit, attractive dancers whose voices autotune well

And what is wrong with that? I listen and look at what I find pleasuring. It doesn't matter if it's computer enhanced. In fact it's a little bit surprising to find such a hate towards augmentations on such a geek site.

Re:Google should just buy the RIAA! (3, Insightful)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037492)

"The music industry consists of musicians and they won't deal with google unless they want to."

no not really, the artists are not the ones in control of the industry, the labels are in control and they are run buy businessmen not musicians. If it were run by musicians the artist would actually make money. the only musicians who make money are the top few mega stars gaga, bono, etc, most are gypped by the industry because the labels can bs them. the mega stars only make money because the labels are afraid that they will switch to one of there competitors.

Amazon is good (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036956)

I have been buying and downloading cheap MP3's from Amazon for a while. Not sure why it isn't considered a "serious" competitor of iTunes.

Revenue (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036986)

I have been buying and downloading cheap MP3's from Amazon for a while. Not sure why it isn't considered a "serious" competitor of iTunes.

So do I, sometimes - but revenue wise I don't think amazon is even close to iTunes yet. The music industry wants two strong players they play against each other, not a giant player who dictates terms to THEM...

Re:Revenue (5, Insightful)

LeperPuppet (1591409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037080)

not a giant player who dictates terms to THEM...

Well, they wouldn't be in that position if they'd tried actually innovating over the last decade instead of running around shrieking about piracy. Instead they let another company monopolise their newest distribution channel.

If they want a strong competitor to Apple, they're going to have to play nicely with others and somehow beat Apple on prices or features, neither of which they're likely to let Google do.

Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch (5, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036990)

In the 1990s, Warner Music was the largest record company. Now they're third. Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch, Leonard Blavatnik, who bought it last July. If Google had wanted Warner Music, they could have bought it then. It sold for $3 billion (actually only $320 million in cash plus the assumption of debt) a few months ago.

Google probably doesn't want to own a record company. It would be a distraction.

Re:Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037094)

Google probably doesn't want to own a record company. It would be a distraction.

Not to mention completely violate their motto.

Re:Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch (5, Insightful)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037156)

Not to mention completely violate their motto.

That didn't stop them when they bought Doubleclick. You know all that big brother advertising evilness Google is famous for? Doubleclick was well known for it.

Re:Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch (5, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037434)

agreed.

to see how far the google fingers have dug themselves in to OUR network (the internet is supposed to be our network, not googles) install adblock and noscript (likely you already have these installed) and then block google's domains, googleapis, all the rest of the google domains. then clear cache and re'run' your favorite websites for a few days. see how much functionality that should be there is now missing?

this 'do no evil' bullshit was always bullshit and its still bullshit. they have their fingers in every main website and even some secondary ones, these days.

Why buy? (1)

Weezul (52464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037198)

They could launch their own label. I suppose they kinda did with youtube.

Re:Why buy? (2)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037260)

What? Google didn't launch YouTube. They bought them. Just like Android and any other product they have, apart from search and AdWords.

Google has a major problem (4, Insightful)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036860)

It's their half-assed attempts to create new products, and releasing them way too early. It's not only with Google Music, it seems to be a company wide practice and can be seen with Google+, Google TV, their coding languages, even Android and quite much any product they put out. Gmail was put out with the same tactic, but it actually offered much more than competitors did back then (good amount of space and great interface).

However, every one of Google's recent products just are not offering anything new, anything better or anything more. In most cases it's actually completely reverse. What they offer is a lot less than competitors do. And yet they still continue the bad practice, and are once again starting a new service that offers significantly less. People will just lose interest and never try to product again. I suspect this will happen with Google Music, Google+ and every other product they put out with the same tactic.

Please Google, finish and polish what you start before releasing them!

Re:Google has a major problem (5, Insightful)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036938)

Not only does Google put out products early but they cancel them quickly too. They are starting to hit HP syndrome where they quickly halt investments if it does not produce a sizable return in just a single 6 week quarter. the cost accountants are running the show in order to boast its shareprice. I have seen the change within the first year as anyone else has.

Google+ was declared a failure within 1 month. I mean come on! Gmail was not popular either at first and I bet if these accountants were in charge of Google back in 2007 gmail would have been canned within 60 days as well because it did not boast the shareprice as well.

I understand it is a business and needs constant 6 - 8 week growth spurts to bring a higher share price to make investors happy and justify the CEO's compensation, but they are killing the goose with the golden egg to quickly. Companies that start to do these things always end up being sorry later. Again, HP syndrome.

If I were a shareholder I would be tempted to sell. It still has a high price not to mention all these ventures that quickly open and close cost money and show a company that is acting frantically desperate.

Re:Google has a major problem (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037154)

If I were a shareholder I would be tempted to sell. It still has a high price not to mention all these ventures that quickly open and close cost money and show a company that is acting frantically desperate.

On the contrary, it shows a company that has a lot of skill at judging what will and what will not add to their bottom line. It shows a nimble management.
G+ has not been declared a failure (except perhaps in your jaded opinion). Far from it.

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037324)

When I log into gmail there is an ad saying g+ is going away, but your posts shall always remain. That shows they killed it without letting it mature.

I could be full of it but that, GoogleTV, and others show a history of quickly investing in things and releasing fast and then abandonding them. Maybe they only invest a small amount and see what sticks so the losses are not as big but you need a large budget to do large things sometimes.

Re:Google has a major problem (2)

mdemonic (988470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037372)

When I log into gmail there is an ad saying g+ is going away, but your posts shall always remain..

I just tried logging in to the gmail web interface, and it said google BUZZ is going away, but my posts will remain.

Re:Google has a major problem (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037396)

When I log into gmail there is an ad saying g+ is going away, but your posts shall always remain. That shows they killed it without letting it mature.

I could be full of it but that, GoogleTV, and others show a history of quickly investing in things and releasing fast and then abandonding them. Maybe they only invest a small amount and see what sticks so the losses are not as big but you need a large budget to do large things sometimes.

I can see I'm arguing with an idiot here.

Google Plus is not going away you moron.

https://plus.google.com/up/?continue=https://plus.google.com/&type=st [google.com]

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

LibRT (1966204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037174)

"...if it does not produce a sizable return in just a single 6 week quarter" - ya, they ought to give their products at least an 8 week quarter!

Re:Google has a major problem (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036964)

Your entire takeaway is based on google hate.

It is a company that throws a lot onto the wall and sees what sticks. You should have known that going in. Its what they do. It works for them.

They are good a shedding un-productive products, sidewiki, Buzz, App Inventor etc., instead of running themselves into the ground maintaining stuff that has no market draw and no hope of a revenue stream.

Google Music is New, Better, and More. Its also Different, easy to manage, and (soon) will have a revenue stream. I put my music in, its automatically on my devices, no cables. No asking Uncle Steve (rip) if its OK. It just works. One second after creating a playlist on line its on my phone. On my tablet.

I can buy or upload music from any source available to me, not just ONE. For free. How is this less?

Google Plus is showing every sign of being everybit as big as Gmail. Its a totally new concept. Its not facebook, its not myspace.

Its time for you to stop the hate. Use it or don't use it, but claiming their services are old, broken, or not perfect is just so misplaced and wrong. Go back and cable up your iphone to your macbook and sync your itunes.

Sticking is the problem (4, Interesting)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037014)

It is a company that throws a lot onto the wall and sees what sticks.

Nothing will stick if they will not finish it before it's out in public.

I was pretty interested in Google+ when it launched. But because I had a paid Google Apps account for my business, I could NOT use my business email account for Google+!! Madness for a major feature like Google+ at launch, to screw over your paying customers.

Now they support Google+ from an apps account. But you know what? I don't think I care anymore. And in fact because of that backhanded slap to a paying customer, I am totally migrating off Google Apps after this year.

You can't just throw random half-baked things out and expect the bake sale to go well.

Re:Sticking is the problem (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037108)

Nothing will stick if they will not finish it before it's out in public.

You mean like Gmail, Maps, Search, Google Earth? Those all wore a Beta tag for years and years.

By any definition, I would say they have stuck.

I find it telling that you wanted them to allow your business on G+ from day one, and at the same time fault them for not testing and completing something before releasing it. Clue: They beta tested it with individuals to shake out the bugs and see if it works before unleashing it on businesses.

Then your get all huffy and stomp off because they didn't beta test on your business?!!???

Apparently they care more about the integrity of your business than you do!

Re:Sticking is the problem (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037210)

You mean like Gmail, Maps, Search, Google Earth? Those all wore a Beta tag for years and years.

Maps and Earth weren't developed in Google, they bought them off. Keyhole had been developing their product for years and it was fully finished and sold to companies too. Google bought them off and made it free for personal usage. In fact, they haven't really developed it all after it was bought from Keyhole. It was never in actual beta. Google Search was in beta when Google started, back in 1998.

Re:Sticking is the problem (1)

kiddygrinder (605598) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037360)

i'm pretty sure it didn't have street view or 3d view when they bought it. they're still working on it.

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037028)

Google Plus is showing every sign of being everybit as big as Gmail. Its a totally new concept. Its not facebook, its not myspace.

How is Google Plus any different? They have basically copied every piece from Facebook, starting from the UI and going to features, games and frankly, pretty much everything. Only thing Google+ had at the time was better organization of target groups for your updates, which you could already do on Facebook anyway.

There is nothing new with Google+. It's a complete Facebook copy, with significant amount of less features and people using it (ie., it's completely dead place).

Re:Google has a major problem (4, Insightful)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037134)

Uhhm, what?

Google+ introduced Circles, shortly afterwards Facebook magically made it possible to share posts with only certain groups
This was one of the most-asked-for and never granted features before G+ came along!

Google+ used a top-screen-bar to keep easy access on your notifications, shortly afterwards Facebook introduced _THE SAME_ feature in a major redesign.

You gotta wonder... who copied who on the details. (Games, come on... it's pretty obvious that people who chat want to play games, that dates back to Usenet and IRC!)

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037238)

Google+ introduced Circles, shortly afterwards Facebook magically made it possible to share posts with only certain groups
This was one of the most-asked-for and never granted features before G+ came along!

It was possible, it just wasn't as clear. I've been using the feature for years in Facebook.

And notifications? They have been there as long as I can remember. And they certainly weren't added only after Google+

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

KingMotley (944240) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037356)

I put my music in, its automatically on my devices, no cables. It just works. One second after creating a playlist on line its on my phone. On my tablet.

This seems like what Apple has right now with iCloud, except apple also supports my receiver (Pioneer), my computer (iTunes), my TV (through Apple TV).

I can buy or upload music from any source available to me, not just ONE. For free. How is this less?

Because you can buy music from any source available right now for iDevices. It's not less, just late.

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037018)

Only danger about waiting too long for release is everyone moves ahead of you. In today's ADHD new shiny object world its often better to release *something* to get it out there in front of people, then refine it in version 2.

Re:Google has a major problem (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037052)

..Google's recent products are not offering anything new, anything better..

You do not need to offer anything better if you are an advertising company, Google owns internet advertising. Just like the those "TV products" companies that have a lucrative dedicated TV channel. /sarcasm

Re:Google has a major problem (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037090)

Please Google, finish and polish what you start before releasing them!

That would be the swedish thing they could do.

Re:Google has a major problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037424)

They need to Czech their work.

Larry Page needs to learn to say no. (2)

jamrock (863246) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037922)

When Page took over as CEO from Eric Schmidt, he asked Steve Jobs for advice. After initial reservations, given the competitive animosity between Apple and Google, Jobs told him in so many words that Google's product strategy was all over the place, and they needed to stop releasing half-baked products and to concentrate on just five. He said that Google needed to focus on just a few things, and to polish them into world-beaters before releasing them.

And Jobs was absolutely correct. Google's "throw-it-at-the-wall-and-see-what-sticks" strategy is causing serious damage to their brand, and by killing off products which don't gain traction immediately they're sending the message that they weren't too committed to their success in the first place.

Jobs was many things, a significant number of which were downright despicable, but the one quality of his I really admired was his ability to say no to the multitudes of ideas percolating up to him, and to focus on just a few that he felt could be brought to fruition in a reasonable time frame. Google's attitude appears to be the diametrical opposite: the impression I get, and it's just an impression, is that Google treats all good ideas with equal priority, which ensures that the ones that actually have a chance of succeeding don't get the attention they need. They need to get out of the "engineer's playground" mentality and focus on a rational and sustainable product philosophy.

slashdot, the new gizmodo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036864)

Since either departure of taco, or death of jobs, slashdot has turned into a huge GOOGLE SUCKS, APPLE IS AWESOME aka gizmodo.

Fuck you and fuck the fanbois.

Re:slashdot, the new gizmodo (1, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037316)

That started well before either of those events.

I suspect that with the death of Pope Steve it will slowly work itself out of the pro-Apple mentality, though certainly that event brought out all of the iFans for one last internet-wide hurrah.

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036866)

It's just music I care about. Not the labels.

I love music.
And the artists who make the music we love don't get paid enough by the labels anyway.

The music industry needs to change.
And that has to start by getting rid of labels and all artists just making their music available for download on sites like iTunes, Amazon and Google Music.

Re:Who cares? (1)

CmdrPony (2505686) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036942)

The music industry needs to change.
And that has to start by getting rid of labels and all artists just making their music available for download on sites like iTunes, Amazon and Google Music.

And who are you to tell the artists what they should do? If they are so concerned about that, they can do that exact thing already. But they value the extra services and funding labels offer them, and that's why they make deals with them. However, they are free to choose, already. In fact they are more free now than if you were to tell them how to do it.

Re:Who cares? (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037176)

If they are so concerned about that, they can do that exact thing already.

Not yet. Not in any realistic way.
Very few have been able to break thru the roadblocks thrown up by the labels.
This is changing before your very eyes.

Nobody is "TELLING" the artists what they should do except the labels.

Re:Who cares? (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037230)

Another problem is that artists sign up with one label, and end up with another. Did all the artists who signed up with Rykodisc agree to having their songs owner by Warner?

Re:Who cares? (1)

Karlt1 (231423) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037404)

iTunes already allows that. If they really don't want to manage the contracts etc. CDBaby offers very reasonable terms to handle distribution.

Re:Who cares? (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037008)

Well said.

When Apple, Amazon, and Google pry the distribution away from the labels, how much longer will those labels be able to control production?

When local bands start acquiring a following, will they be able to go "indi" via one or more of these outlets without signing anything but a retail agreement for distribution? Will they simply hire a recording studio to record and polish their tracks without all the contractual lock downs and indentured servitude the labels impose?

Re:Who cares? (1)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037212)

And the artists who make the music we love don't get paid enough by the labels anyway.

Goodness, no - it's a wonder they can even scrape together the money to eat with...

Re:Who cares? (2)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037344)

Many of them can't.

For most musicians, it ends up working out that they can either make more money on fewer sales by going indie, or make less money on VASTLY greater sales on a major. Those with little talent, lacking the ability to write their own songs and more interested in fame than fortune may be better served with the latter. Typically, the music I enjoy does better with the former.

How can this work? (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036882)

Wouldn't Apple have gone for exclusive deals?

Doesn't launching the product without licenses in place put Google in a terrible negotiating position with the labels?

Re:How can this work? (1)

KingAlanI (1270538) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037304)

even if Apple did want exclusivity (not sure), maybe the labels flat-out refused.

maybe if Google Music launches and things go well with just Universal on board, that would send a message to / set an example for Sony and Warner.

Re:How can this work? (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037350)

Doesn't launching the product without licenses in place put Google in a terrible negotiating position with the labels?

No. It sounds like a rather strong negotiating position for Google.

"Take the deal we are offering... or spend the next decade arguing with our lawyers."

Google has very deep pockets, and can afford to take on a long court battle. The publicity from such a case would be a win for Google even if they lost in the end.

Re:How can this work? (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037364)

It just means they can't sell music from those labels. If they are able to do decently well on sales in spite of this, it proves that customers are more interested in their distribution outlet than they are in the labels' music. That would be a pretty compelling reason for any labels not already on board to sign up sooner rather than later.

So no, not really.

Re:How can this work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037990)

Wouldn't Apple have gone for exclusive deals?

Doesn't launching the product without licenses in place put Google in a terrible negotiating position with the labels?

That's why they killed Jobs. I'd be looking over my shoulder right now, if I was a SONY exec...

exciting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036916)

google music is the next big thing! Just like google+ was so awesome...

weird reversal (5, Interesting)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036948)

The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how

Normally, more competition = (lower price || better service)

Right now iTunes dominates and has no competition, for all intents and purposes. The record labels don't like that, since Apple is holding them by the balls and forcing them cheap 99cent pricing and other things. So they want more competition for Apple.

But if they get their way, and more competition appears, the record labels will be able to raise prices and make more money?

Re:weird reversal (1)

AntEater (16627) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037072)

... and forcing them cheap 99cent pricing and other things.

Maybe it's just me but 99c for streaming 4mb of bits to my local computer seems a bit excessive. I understand that the artist needs to be compensated and there are production costs, but the effective unit cost for a download heads towards zero pretty quickly for any music that is even moderately successful. A downloaded lossy compressed copy of an album should cost, at most, around $5. Of course, the bloated pigs that run the RIAA member corporations would rather run the industry into the ground rather than recognize that the real value of their product has declined from the heyday of the CD in the early 90s.

Re:99c for streaming 4mb (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037348)

That's what I'll reply to.

It's not about the 4 megs, it's about the 99c/costs to produce the song, which presumably had at least $5,000 of studio overhead per album.

Re:99c for streaming 4mb (1)

MurukeshM (1901690) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037484)

$5k per album? Ok, I'll give you that. So, say they sell 1k copies, online. For break-even, that's $5/album. For $5 profit per sale, that's $10. But they don't sell 1k copies. They sell way, way more than that. Copying electronic media for online transmission probably has a fixed cost, independent of the album (since they make deals with ISPs), and probably should be accounted for in the 5k anyway, How do you justify their prices then? Or the ridiculous amounts that journals and their publication houses charge for e-copies of articles published by them? I think the articles business has teamed up with the MAFIAA, or atleast is teaching them a thing or two about how to screw over people.

Poor cost controls aren't my problem (3, Informative)

sjbe (173966) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037700)

It's not about the 4 megs, it's about the 99c/costs to produce the song, which presumably had at least $5,000 of studio overhead per album.

If the recording studio can't control their costs, that isn't my problem. While I don't pretend to be an expert in the music industry, I am actually a certified accountant and I'm quite comfortable saying that everything I've observed about that industry indicates they aren't very good at cost control. While there is a meaningful cost to the production of an album, the overhead is fixed and can be amortized over numerous projects. The labor to produce the record is also basically fixed. It's fairly similar to R&D in that once it goes to market there are no more costs, especially with digital distribution.

Most of the costs in a record label should be in sales and marketing (rather like a software firm actually). The actual product development is rather inexpensive - maybe 10-20% of the total costs. The real expense is in promotion (and formerly in distribution) so the labels haven't really needed to care much about cost control in the actual studio time because it is tiny by comparison. That doesn't mean though that I as the customer should be willing to pay for their inefficiency.

Ask yourself this. Are you really willing to pay the record companies the money it costs you to market a record to you? Are you really willing to pay some extravagant rate for studio time? Personally I have no interest at all in paying for their marketing budget or other production inefficiencies. I'm pretty confident that even at $0.99/song, the margins are pretty fat for the record companies given that the marginal cost of sales done digitally is a good approximation of zero.

Re:weird reversal (2)

Fjandr (66656) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037562)

Fiber optic cabling should be cheap too. After all, it's just glass and plastic.

While I agree that the overhead in the music industry doesn't likely justify their current pricing, the argument to tie retail cost to delivery and raw content values is naive at best.

There's a lot of production effort that resulted in the original creation. Just because it can be reproduced for an insignificant amount after it's created does not mean the actual cost of creation is nearly zero. Additionally, any content creation is a gamble. The huge number of failures are subsidized by the much smaller number of successes.

There are two sides to every argument. That the content industries are predatory is not in dispute, but their position is no more or less extreme than the position that their content has a near-zero cost.

Re:weird reversal (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037122)

99 cents is really not that cheap. Consider a typical CD with 12 +/- 4 songs. You'd be paying about 12$ to store a couple of bits in the cloud. This is roughly the same price one could find at Walmart or Target, albeit with less of a selection. Apple has the record companies by the balls, not because they offer a cheaper service, but because now they're getting a significant cut of the profits while co-opting their job as content distributor. If artists can publish over itunes, they suddenly make the existing set of middlemen look redundant.

Re:weird reversal (1)

quantaman (517394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037194)

Apple and the labels are both still competing against free which factors into the price point. It will also be hard for a new competitor to charge more since people could just purchase the song for cheaper from Apple since a label probably doesn't want to withhold their music from a big retailer like Apple.

Re:weird reversal (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037202)

I would imagine they're holding out because they want Google to open a service that allows them to sell songs for > $0.99. That way, they have a far better position to negotiate a price increase with iTunes. OTOH, I'd imagine Google is resisting such a deal for a couple reasons. First, it serves the record companies, but is not designed to help Google (works just as well or even better if Google Music later goes flop). Second, it gives them no pricing advantage, and likely a disadvantage, thus ensuring an uphill battle in competing with iTunes.

Re:weird reversal (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037820)

I suspect the problem is that there is no agreement that makes all the parties happy. Google's modus operandi is to sell at low margins and make it up on volume. The labels want to make more money from Google than they do from Apple.

The problem is that the natural compromise is for Google to pay more to the labels for each song but then sell them to the public for less. Google would love that because nobody is going to buy a song on iTunes for $.99 if they can get it on Google Music for $.79, and even if that meant near zero margins they could just make their money by putting ads on the website like they do for everything else. But the labels don't want that because they would just be trading Google for Apple as the dominant music store.

So the labels go in and demand that Google sell for at least what Apple is selling for, but that they pay the labels more for each song. And that's obviously a sucker bet because it's the opposite problem. Nobody is going to pay $1.19 for something on Google Music that is $.99 on iTunes, so Google would be stuck charging the same price but receiving a smaller cut. And why would Google want to accept terms worse than what the labels have shown they're willing to accept from Google's competitor?

Which leaves giving Google the Apple deal, which doesn't make anybody happy because the labels don't get any higher margins and Google can't differentiate their product through price competition.

Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036950)

Here's a hint to Google. If I can visit Youtube (or a similar music service) to see how good the music is before I buy it, and they make it fairly cheap (say 10p-£2 per track), I will be buying tons of individual tracks and enjoying it.

However, I want a single click, and download of the Mp3/video to my drive in non-DRM format without any fuss or hassle. That's the thing, and I imagine Google is one of the only companies non-evil enough to pull it off.

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (4, Informative)

GuruBuckaroo (833982) | more than 2 years ago | (#38036968)

You mean exactly like Amazon's music store?

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (3, Interesting)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037036)

Three things:

1: Last time I heard, Amazon's music store isn't in the UK and many other parts of the world.

2: I don't think just *anyone* can put their music up for sale easily on Amazon's store. You have to go through hoops. I'm hoping Google will make the system universal so that anyone can sell their music almost instantly if they want to.

3: I browse videos more often, and Google will suggest other videos of a similar nature, making it easier to find ones you like. Videos are often more fun to look at anyway.

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (2)

jimthehorsegod (1210220) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037252)

Three things:

1: Last time I heard, Amazon's music store isn't in the UK and many other parts of the world.

Erm... www.amazon.co.uk/MP3 ?

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (0)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037460)

You mean exactly like Amazon's music store?

Have you ever bought anything from Amazon's store? They do have the qualities mentioned above, but the actual audio quality is so atrocious that I could never justify paying for it. I'm no FLAC-loving audiophile, but being able to buy a non-DRM MP3 with no hassle isn't worth it when you're paying for an MP3 file with a bitrate of 128 or below.

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (2)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037610)

I just bought an album a few weeks ago and the mp3s were VBR with ~170-~205.

iTuned offers one minute previews now (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037032)

If I can visit Youtube (or a similar music service) to see how good the music is before I buy it, and they make it fairly cheap (say 10p-£2 per track), I will be buying tons of individual tracks and enjoying it.

Why not just use iTunes today? You can preview any track for a minute, which is plenty long enough for me to decide if I like a song or not. Then you can buy tracks as you see fit (usually).

Re:iTuned offers one minute previews now (1)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037086)

Even if they supply non-DRM tracks, and they are below say 50p, iTunes is a mediocre player for the PC compared to something like Mediamonkey [skytopia.com].

And I doubt they'd supply the rarer tracks I'd be interested in anyway.
And I bet they make you jump through hoops for anyone wanting to upload their tracks to sell.

Re:iTuned offers one minute previews now (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037224)

iTunes has been DRM-free for years now. Mediamonkey supports the AAC files from iTunes. Apple licensed amazon's one-click patent.

Re:Here's a chance to grab my money Google. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037818)

Bandcamp [bandcamp.com] is that service. It's the only digital music service that I've actually used because all the other ones lack some of the features you mentioned.

GMusic Beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036966)

That is probably the name of it I bet, though this time I kind of wished they released it with full support, of everything they can get because peoples opinion will be formed almost immediadely if it's worth using or if they should stick with itunes. I thought they had a shot with Google+, but their idea of having a invite only for a SOCIAL network at start wasn't the brightest idea it allowed people to get annoyed by bugs and not have their friends on it before hooking everyone in.

Re:GMusic Beta (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037390)

I seem to recall another social networking site that started out as invite only and had very exclusive policies regarding who could join. I seem to recall the name was something like "facebook".

Wnd game? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38036974)

"The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor", OK, why?

So we can see competition and lower prices, unlikely.
So they can have a different pricing structure? If it's more than current iTunes, how many people are going to pay more?

Or do they just think, more selling options == more sales?
 

Re:Wnd game? (3, Insightful)

arkenian (1560563) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037046)

"The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor", OK, why?

So we can see competition and lower prices, unlikely. So they can have a different pricing structure? If it's more than current iTunes, how many people are going to pay more?

Or do they just think, more selling options == more sales?

*shrugs* Possibly they wish to do to Apple what Apple did to Amazon with books . . . force a raise in prices because Publishers no longer have to accept selling at the lower price to sell their product. Personally, though, I don't see it. Apple had specific motives to get the publishers in a war with Amazon to boost device sales. In the digital music world I don't think the particular dynamics involved will apply.

Really good question - answer, leverage (2)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037050)

"The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor", OK, why?

I think that's a REALLY astute question. What do they get out of this?

I think the answer is that with two large players to play off each other, the labels could demand a greater cut of sales then they get currently, saying they would otherwise dry up supply for one store or the other.

With just one strong player, cutting off supply ALSO cuts of sales for the labels, so they really have little leverage...

And in the end for the labels (or most companies), how much you can make in profit is a lot about the leverage you have.

"popular but controversial music app"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037000)

FTA: "What could also aggravate record-company execs is a disagreement over a request by the labels' trade group to remove a popular but controversial music app from the Android Market."

Uhh.... anybody have an idea what app they're talking about?

Re:"popular but controversial music app"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037172)

MP3 Music Download Pro ... because it "encourages piracy".

Why negoitate? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037004)

Just buy the bastards outright. ( tho trying to buy Sony would be tough, they are much larger than most realize )

Re:Why negoitate? (4, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037918)

Sony as a whole is rather large, but their music division is not that big.

The real issue is that nobody could ever buy all the major music labels and make it past the antitrust authorities.

Of course, they could just buy whichever one has the most attractive catalog and then fire most of the management and replace them with people with souls and then stop acting in lockstep with the rest of the cartel. I would love to see the reaction of the other labels if one of them suddenly started selling tracks for less than half the cartel price and giving new artists well-balanced contracts instead of bending them over. It would be like watching a corporation have a heart attack.

A comparison you're going to hate (4, Interesting)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037092)

Reading this, and thinking about how Google+, Google TV, etc. have floundered so far... in a lot of ways, Google's attempts to move into new markets reminds me a lot of Microsoft's "strategic" moves over the past several years. I'm not convinced Google has an overarching strategic plan. A lot of their moves lately seem like "me too" decisions made without anyone really thinking very far ahead.

It's almost like the only thinking that went into this was "hey, we have lots of money; and that really seems like an area we should get into - where's the checkbook?"

Re:A comparison you're going to hate (1)

izomiac (815208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037228)

It seems more like throwing a handful of seeds into a field and seeing what takes root. Starting all these side offerings probably isn't costing Google very much money, so if it fails it's no big deal, but if it succeeds then the profit potential is huge. They also create publicity for Google and ensure they keep a following of early adopters.

Re:A comparison you're going to hate (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037394)

I'm not convinced Google has an overarching strategic plan.

Of course they do - it used to be "do everything Microsoft does" but it's now become "do everything Apple does."

Sadly, I wish I was joking...

Re:A comparison you're going to hate (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037442)

Microsoft's "strategic" moves over the past several years...

The difference is that Microsoft stays with something until they dominate the industry. The original XBox lost money from beginning to end. Now Microsoft's game operation is profitable, and they and Nintendo are on top, Sony is in trouble and Sega is forgotten.

Recently, a Microsoft exec made the comment that Microsoft is happy with Bing's progress. They gained 4% market share in search last year, and are now at 30%. Five more years and they might pass Google. Once Bing passes Google. they become the "must be on" ad network.

(Take that threat seriously. Twelve years ago, the top search engine was Lycos, "the catalog of the Internet". Where are they now? Myspace and Yahoo have tanked. Microsoft is still here. The one-product companies haven't done so well. And Google is a one-product company - ads are 96% of revenue. Despite many attempts, Google has never had a second winning product that generates serious revenue. The free stuff doesn't count.)

Re:A comparison you're going to hate (2)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037730)

The difference is that Microsoft stays with something until they dominate the industry. The original XBox lost money from beginning to end. Now Microsoft's game operation is profitable, and they and Nintendo are on top, Sony is in trouble and Sega is forgotten

You seem to have come down with a bad case of selective memory. A Google fan could've made the same statement, just replacing "XBox" with "Android". However, in both cases, it'd be pointing out one success while ignoring multiple failures.

You can certainly argue "take that threat seriously", and we won't know who's right for another 4-5 years in all likelihood. But I remember reading pretty much these same arguments a few years ago when they launched the Zune - Microsoft was "happy with Zune's progress" as well.

Re:A comparison you're going to hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037736)

That's an apt analogy. Even riskier to say, it reminds me of the open source world -- lots of different projects, many of which lack good leadership and focus, often suffering from poor UI choices, and end up effectively dying after a short time.
 
Apple, meanwhile, chooses very few projects and tends to push very hard on them. They make mistakes, such as Apple TV (twice over), but I think their drive and focus tends to overwhelm the failings in their products to make them successful.

Lossless Audio Purchases? (2)

BinaryTB (1556521) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037144)

Label or no labels, I'll purchase from Google if they do the following:

1. Allow lossless music purchases
2. Allow purchased music to not count against your storage quota
3. Allow redownloading your purchased music "forever"
4. Price music well (by "well", I mean less than or equal to Amazon/iTunes/CDs)

#2-4 are probably a given, but I'm really not counting on #1 happening. Amazon doesn't do it and iTunes only has the ALAC* format. Google Music converts FLAC to 320kbps MP3 before uploading currently, so I'm taking that as a bad sign from Google for FLAC support. I'm just getting really tired of buying CDs and ripping them myself, so much so that my music purchases have gone down the last couple years**.

*ALAC is fine now that it's open source, but my Nexus S doesn't support that format natively. It doesn't support FLAC either, but Android 3.1+ added FLAC support, so I don't mind waiting for Android 4.0, which is coming "soon". Plus it was opened pretty recently, so I'm still waiting to see if how much software/hardware support it gets down the road.

**Remember that NFC chip on a CD case demo Google showed way back when (I think it was NFC)? i.e. tap the NFC to a reader device and Google will recognize the CD as a purchase and it shows up in your online account for playing/downloading. I wouldn't even mind that if Google went lossless, is that even available yet?

How long will it run? (1)

Azure Flash (2440904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037668)

When Google says "Jump!" I say "How high?" and Google answers "Nevermind, we're discontinuing Google Jump along with 9 other Google products".

yuo f4Il it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38037772)

my resignation by BSDI who sEll Whether you hav3 their moments EFNet servers. has steadily

Here's an idea... (1)

Tastecicles (1153671) | more than 2 years ago | (#38037886)

...Why doesn't Google use its presence to promote unsigned artists and those "download friendly" guys such as Grateful Dead, Phish, Alan Hurtz, Max Creek... hell, why not mirror this [archive.org]? OK, hardly any of it is studio, it's 99.9% live recordings and capture quality is variable. To say nothing of the artists themselves (and some of them sound very different from their studio stuff - it becomes obvious, and sometimes painfully so, who has their studio vocals fed through a digital processor...

There's an obvious advantage to this - coverage. How many hits does Google get every single day?

Another question: how many people on here, reading this, had ever heard of etree before I posted the above link? I hope I did a good thing...

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