Google is offering billion dollar checks to labels for blanket rights to their entire catalogs, according to highly placed digital music sources.
According to one source, “Google has offered at least one label over a billion dollars for all the rights in every country for every piece of music and for every platform.” This means that Google could potential be writing checks for a total of well over $5 billion, if they’re crazy enough to actually go through with it. By comparison, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s (IFPI), total revenue generated by the global recorded music industry in 2011 was $16.6 billion.
What, one may ask, is Google thinking? “Who knows,” said the source. “It really doesn’t matter because they would screw it up anyway (referring to the fact that Google’s music service has been less than dazzling). Evidently they have a big content group and they have to have something to do to justify their existence.”
So how have the labels responded? “They’re just shrugging and stringing Google along, trying to keep milking cash out of them”, says the source. “They want the money but on the other hand they hate Google. It really sticks in their craw that Google continues to present links to pirated content at the top of their search results.”
Last year blogger Glyn Moody opined in a blog post why Google should buy the music industry. “That would solve its licensing problems at a stroke”, he writes, but would also bring anti-trust problems. He then goes on to ask what “if a consortium of leading Internet companies – Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Baidu, Amazon etc. – jointly bought the entire music industry, and promised to license its content to anyone on a non-discriminatory basis? At the very least, the idea ought to send a shiver down the spine of the fat-cats currently running the record labels, and encourage them to stop whining so much just in case they make the thought of firing them all too attractive to the people whose lives they are currently making an utter misery….”
I wonder if the Capitol Tower could be moved to Silicon Valley?