Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 16th Apr 2011 16:01 UTC
Google So, Google has been working on setting up an internet music service for a while now, and we even know some of the details about what Google wants it to look like. Sadly, however, rumour has it the negotiations with the music industry have been so frustrating, Google is contemplating abandoning the entire project altogether. This has led some to wonder - why doesn't Google, or a consortium of technology companies, just buy the music industry outright?
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RE: One party monopoly
by kryogenix on Sun 17th Apr 2011 05:14 UTC in reply to "One party monopoly"
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So Google could do what the RIAA can't - completely own the distribution model, from creation to distribution to even whether or not you're able to find it for sale in the first place?

Sounds A-OK to me.


They could own the music biz top to bottom from the artist to the device you hear it on. Or at least the OS that device runs.

Also quite easy to do especially with Android being an incredibly prominent player out there.

With iTunes the artist gets what's left after Apple gets a cut and the labels get a pretty big cut.

So.... play nice with the litigation-happy greedy RIAA and greedy labels for now. Strike a deal similar to Apple's.... hell maybe even sweeten it a little bit offering them more of a piece. Start "Google Music" offering the service exclusively on desktops (Linux/OSX/Win32) and Android. Lock MS out for a while but when they are securely behind offer a WinPhone7 version and get Nokia to bundle it. Offer up an iPhone client and sue Apple for anticompetitive behavior in the mobile music space when they reject it.

Play really nice with the indie labels while all this is going on and the cash comes rolling in. Offer the indies slightly better profit per song but be quiet about it.

Now quietly integrate an "Independent Artist Channel" where artists basically sign with "Google Music" and Google handles distribution through the internet and mobile phone networks for a small 10% piece of the pie and can have CD's pressed (min 1000 order) for in-store distribution (regional or national) if internet sales are promising enough. Quietly drop the wall between this and RIAA-affiliated folks on the service after the next step is successful.

Then the "Not evil but lengthy" step....

Wait until lots of cash comes rolling in and due to Android's popularity, they become the next iPod due to easy storage expansion, dirt-cheap price (i.e. Huawei U8150), slick interface and good MP3 players. Moving their tunes to a new device even from another manufacturer is PAINLESS. Swap the card. Don't like Google's MP3 player app? Get a different one. Keep the Google Music client a closed APK blob and only open the client API and protocol spec to NDA-signing devs and manufacturers on a case-by-case basis. Audit the hell out of it regularly.


Offer a bunch of very high profile acts boatloads of cash to dump the RIAA-affiliated labels they are with and sign with Google as an "Independent Artist" with google only getting 10% for each song sold. Handle their distribution and internet presence. Get their CD's into Best Buy and/or Walmart. Or instead of CD's, cards with scannable QR codes that need to be activated upon purchase at register. The code on the card, when activated at register upon purchase, would redirect the phone to a direct download for the album. Prior to purchase it may show some artist info and offer some sample clips.

This would be for all NEW material from the artists. Their old shit still belongs to their old label unless they bought the rights back.

Now, when the record labels and RIAA sink, offer to buy the rights they hold to older material for pennies on the dollar so the execs get parachutes and offer it back to the artist for a penny or two more on the dollar, otherwise Google gets to sell it.

The advantage here is these bands would already be in the public eye and have a serious public presence. They would basically sell themselves. No real friction getting them booked for tours or being their "agent". They are big already. You are just cutting out the middleman for them. They would be posterboys for "Google Independent Artists" and convince others to jump ship.

For bands that do >X in sales, offer them a google agent to help with getting them touring the country and/or world based on sales.

Offer an MTVish video service with various "channels" for different genres streamed to your Android phone. Make sure "Google Independent Artists", especially any that bailed from other RIAA-affiliated labels, get featured prominently.

Even if not too many of the artists bail from the RIAA labels, you get a few and you prove the artist gets a much bigger direct cut. You also make it easier for average joe to write a song and sell it. If they sell a bunch, you help them sell a bunch more and help get them touring. For all the artists that stayed with the RIAA, you still get to sell their stuff. Just don't get as big a cut.

If you don't kill the RIAA you'll make a huge dent and they couldn't complain too much because you are helping sell their stuff at rates better than most. They will certainly start turning a bit blue if not outright suffocating. And it's not like they can stop their music being played on Android devices.

Who Google would lay the smackdown on quite a bit would be Apple. This would shake the iPhone up quite a bit and really hurt the iPod Classic and iPod touch sales. Especially if a Google Music client came to iPhone and was as good as iTunes.

If Apple was smart, they would add direct sync integration for Android to iTunes NOW and write an Android version of iTunes and sell it on Android Market or they are going to lose the teeny bopper popular music market in a race to the bottom competing with shiny $50 crappy mini android devices from Family Dollar.

Shit is about to get interesting.....

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