Kim Dotcom certainly knows how to stir things up in the music industry. Yesterday, he published a 33-minute recording of a conference call with Universal Music Group executives in January 2012, two days before his MegaUpload site was shut down. “They wanted to partner with me,” he claims in the description of the recording on SoundCloud, where it’s hosted.
The discussion is about his proposed Megakey service, which would make money (and pay rightsholders) for free music usage by replacing the online advertisements that they saw online. But it’s when the conversation turns to Google, and Dotcom’s offer to focus Megakey’s ad replacement on that company’s ads “because Google, frankly, is benefiting the most of all Internet companies from piracy” that’s making waves. “You are basically now charging a little tax for the benefits that they have with your content,” he said. Oh, and also the moment when UMG’s Rob Wells says “In the short term I can downgrade your status from ‘evil’ to ‘bad’, and as the process goes on it will go from ‘bad’ to ‘good’ and from ‘good’ to ‘exceptional partner’.” referring to Dotcom and Megaupload. But the positive nature of the discussions beg an obvious question: why, two days later, was Megaupload raided if the world’s largest label was sounding so positive on the prospects for a deal?