Google Music: Weeks Away, Months Away – Never?!

image from Depending on who you ask, Google Music is either weeks or months away from launching.

A report from Businessweek suggests that the launch may come as soon as next month.

Whereas CNET says we're months, rather than weeks, away. So, what's the hold up here?

Business Insider has a new theory.

An anonymous source of theirs, who has "extensive knowledge" of the online music space, told them that publishers are dragging their heels. Surprise.

The Situation

Google wants to launch a music service that lets users buy songs and have them downloaded into the cloud – accessible from anywhere. The problem appears to be that the publishers expect to be paid for every download. This is why Apple and Amazon don't allow repeat downloads. Even though it's outrageous to expect fans to pay twice to download songs they've already bought – that's the situation.

If a fan buys a song at home, stores it in the cloud, and wants to download that same song onto their work computer, publishers expect to get paid – again.

It's a bit anti-consumer of publishers to have these expectations, but this is the music industry. Business Insider's source doesn't see anyone getting a license to launch a consumer pleasing personal cloud service anytime soon. Why?

The major labels are very uncomfortable with "a model where you can just throw anything into the cloud and stream it, if what you threw into the cloud was not legitimately purchased," said Sony Music executive Thomas Hesse at MIDEM.

Take a Mile

If the major labels give fans an inch, they will take a mile.

The most avid file-sharers, in theory, could create their own personal cloud-based music service with a big enough collection. The labels don't want that.

However, Michael Robertson of is in a legal battle now with EMI. If he wins, it would make Google's negotiations with rightsholders unnecessary.

Stay tuned.

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