There were several reports from late last week indicating that Google is negotiating with major labels in anticipation of the launch of Spotify-like music streaming service. As part of these negotiations, according to the LA Times, “Google is proposing a premium subscription service” on YouTube that would encompass music videos and perhaps audio-only songs.
The suggested launch window is fall 2013.
A well-executed streaming capability would potentially threaten smaller services such as Spotify or MOG. Apple is also rumored to be preparing a streaming Internet radio competitor to Pandora. Its iTunes match service allows streaming of any track in the user’s existing iTunes library.
Separately, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) issued a report that argues Google has done little to combat music piracy in the six months after it allegedly promised to do so:
Six months ago Google announced it would take into account the number of valid copyright notices it receives when returning search results. Attached is our Google report card that offers our initial analysis of Google’s new demotion policy for piracy. The key take away: “Six months later, we have found no evidence that Google’s policy has had a demonstrable impact on demoting sites with large amounts of piracy. These sites consistently appear at the top of Google’s search results for popular songs or artists.”
Google said it would factor copyright removal notices into its algorithm, thus sending music piracy sites lower down on the page below legitimate ones. The RIAA report argues that hasn’t happened.
The AllThingsD blog obtained a statement from Google that asserts the company is doing all it can to empower the music industry with tools and quickly respond to copyright takedown requests.
One question is whether the RIAA and major labels will try and use the report and underlying facts as part of its negotiation with Google over the proposed streaming and premium music services the company is reportedly trying to launch.