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The Growing Importance Of Music To The Tech Industry

The big firms' percentage of revenue from music may be falling, but they are still looking for ways to make money from it.

Several announcements this morning from Google and Microsoft emphasize what a big deal music is to the tech world.

Microsoft has tweaked its music searches on Bing, so that when you search for an artist's video repertoire, a bank of screens offer up with can only be described as a Mongolian banquet of choice. Google Glass is allowing hands-free access to Google Play, releasing a video by Young Guru, a DJ and producer who has worked with Jay Z, Beyonce, and Rihanna, showing just what the service can do for him, creatively speaking. (Mr. Guru also uses Sound Search, a Shazam-like service for Glass that appeared a couple of months back, before buying the track on Google Play.)

As the revenue from music declines (some data analysis suggests Apple makes an average of $48 per year from each active user of its OS), the big firms need to do something about it. Apple's iRadio will make money from advertising on its free version. Google is creating its own musical ecosystem for Glass, as well as allowing Nielsen to tag and measure the advertising on YouTube, after years of saying, "no thanks." You can bet that a lot of Google's search revenue comes from the high placement of YouTube videos on its results. And now, Bing has gone all out to reorganize its own music sector. Perhaps its next job will be to connect the dots between Bing and Xbox Music.