In an interesting move that could have an impact on any music service globally, Google seems to be taking enough of an interest in music that they have brought on board music licensing attorney Elizabet Moody. In a story released by Billboards Antony Bruno, it is stated that Moody has been brought on board to spearhead negotiations with the record labels.
The news released still further speculation that Google may be in the midst of offering up a "cloud" based music service. The issue of cloud computing is something SiriusBuzz has been talking about both here and on our Satellite Radio News radio show. The important thing with cloud networks is that it makes the music and video files for services available from anywhere. This gives consumers more options on using and accessing their content on virtually any device capable of accessing the Internet, and storage capacity is not an issue.
If Google decides to make the move into music, they have deep enough pockets to do just about anything they want. With the hiring of an attorney that specializes in negotiations with the music industry, everyone in that space should pay attention. Google can impact everyone, and the scalability of music fees has gotten to a level that will make competition stiff. Moody is scheduled to start in August.
"It really has in just the last four years. When I started there was a focus on the first generation of services like the Napsters and Rhapsodys, which were moderately successful. The next phase was the ad-supported services like MySpace and imeem and Playlist that were trying to make a business out of it but were struggling to monetize. So I think the focus now is on how we can find a way to monetize the content without making it too expensive for consumers. At this point, consumers are not showing that they have any interest in paying for music, or at least not paying very much. Where it’s been going recently, it’s subscription models again, but it’s streaming from the cloud. The technology has advanced where we can do that now, and the price points have come down. The PC product is $5 and mobile is $10, so hopefully it’ll be more appealing to consumers." - Elizabeth Moody
Google is not the only major player looking to work from a cloud based system, or speaking about subscription models. Apple, and services such as newly launched MP3Tunes have also jumped into the game. Already, existing services like Pandora and Slacker come in at less expensive price points that Sirius XM. If bigger players hop into the category, it will mean an even more competitive landscape.
Googles Android Platform has made huge strides this year in the smart phone category, and it appears that they want to deliver even more than just a slick operating system to consumers with their phones. Initially the battle will seem to be between Apple and Google, but this battle will not only impact how we get our entertainment, but possibly much more. Satellite radio investors and fans alike need to watch these issues play out over the coming months. SiriusBuzz will keep you informed.
Position - Long Sirius XM Radio, No Position Google, Apple