It all started at CES in January of 2010. That's when Google met with execs from various major record labels, I'm told, to discuss launching a possible music service. The meetings were very exploratory, but it sounded at the time like the service would be cloud-based.
Fast forward to the present, and rumors of Google's music service haven't become any clearer: We've seen leaked screenshots, read of relevant music acquisitions and internal testing, and heard reports of stalled negotiations. As one music industry source recently told me, "Google music is now surpassing Spotify as the best music service that never launched."
However, negotiations between Google and the labels are still very active, despite recent reports saying otherwise. Earlier this week, The Music Void reported that Google "is just about at the end of their rope with the major label licensing process" and that its "frustrated from the grief they seem to be getting from all the labels." Specifically, TMV cited observers who say one label is stalling the process by pushing for a $30 per-year rate for the cloud. "Negotiations are said to have gone sideways," the report said.
But according to another music industry source familiar with the discussions, the rumors of stalled negotiations are "ancient history." That's not to say the annual fee of $30 has changed—the source could not comment on specific figures. The point here is that the impasse described in TMV's report has long since ended, and that negotiations have continued. When asked about a specific time-frame (months? years?) for when we could expect the service, the source could not offer details.
But people are driving toward this, a source said, and deals will be struck.
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[Image: Flickr user ceinstudio]