Those reports in recent weeks about Google struggling to reach licensing deals with rightsholders for its proposed cloud music service? It seems they were true. Today will see the launch of Music Beta by Google, a service that’s near-identical to Amazon’s Cloud Drive, including the lack of licences.
Users will be able to upload a maximum of 20,000 songs to their locker, with owners of the Motorola Xoom Android tablet and attendees of this week’s Google I/O conference first to get invites for the free beta. Users will be able to stream the contents of their locker from any web browser, while an Android app will provide that plus the ability to cache streams locally.
Multiple Google execs have criticised rightsholders for their negotiating stance using deliberately identical terms. “Unfortunately, a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms,” Android director of content Jamie Rosenberg tells All Things Digital, while also telling the New York Times that “we’re not necessarily relying on the partnerships that have proven difficult”.
”We’ve been in negotiations with the industry for a different set of features, with mixed results. A couple of major labels were less focused on innovation and more on demanding unreasonable and unsustainable business terms,” director of content partnerships Zahavah Levine tells Billboard. Its report claims that Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group were the ‘bottlenecks’ that made Google abandon (for now) plans to launch a more ambitious ‘scan-and-match’ licensed service.

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