Over the weekend, prior to the announcement Wednesday of Google Music, Google was still reportedly scrambling to secure content and licensing deals from the four major record labels. According to top music industry and radio website allaccess.com, only EMI and Vivendi Universal were all in prior to the announcement yesterday.
According to Allaccess and other music industry (not tech) websites, Sony Music was still not on board as late as Tuesday morning. Finally in the 11th hour Google and Sony were able to strike a deal that gave Google Music users access to Sony and their associated labels including Jive, RCA, Arista, J and many more.
More after the break
As Google took the stage at their Wednesday event Vivendi/Universal, EMI (which is in bankruptcy) and Sony were all on board. Warner Music Group was the lone hold out. Warner currently holds about 20% of the popular music out there. Warner labels also include Reprise (Greenday), Atlantic (Led Zeppelin), Bad Boy, Asylum, Elektra and many others.
Warner Music Group tends to be very conservative in their online dealings, and in some cases they can because they control that much music. If it makes Google Music users feel any better Spotify has had trouble with Warner as well in fact you can’t get real Led Zeppelin tracks on Spotify. Warner Music Group holds some of the best catalogs of all time.
Back in 2008 Warner Music Group was in one of the biggest licensing battles with Youtube. The battle ensued for 2 years. As of 2010 Warner Music Group still cracked down a lot harder than other labels on covers of their artists.
Warner Music Group also lashed out against the video game industry and it’s use of their music. This resulted in a boycott by many fans of anything Warner related. During this period Vivendi/Universal and especially their DefJam outlet began showing up on hundreds of game titles.
It’s doubtful that Warner and Google will come to any kind of deal soon. Perhaps Warner Music Group and some of their greatest artists of all time will be like the Beatles were originally for iTunes and become the legacy of Google Music.