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Wider Implications of Leaked Android Music App Containing Google Cloud Music Service?

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It was brought to TMV’s attention via an inadvertent leak made to the blog Tech From 10 (http://techfrom10.com/2011/04/the-android-test-market/) that Google is gearing up for its much-rumoured cloud-based music service. Apparently, the folks at Tech From 10 only attempted to undertake a routine update of apps on their Samsung Galaxy S Android phone, yet discovered that their Android Market was now suddenly a test version. Despite attempting to uninstall it – the test version would not uninstall. They took some screen shots you can view here.

And yes, it did contain a new and apparently better music app, which was titled music 3.0. Tech From 10 did manage to download and install it. According to the blog this new music app is very similar to the Honeycomb apps installed on tables including the Motorola Xoon. It is also “far better than the current music player in Android 2.3” according to Tech From 10.

This new Android player has pop-ups, dynamic backgrounds and similar animations to the music player installed in Android 2.1 operating systems. The most salient element being that it DID include the Google Music cloud service. Sadly, despite trying the folks at Tech From Ten could not get access to sample the cloud music service.

Why is all this of interest you may well ask? From TMV’s perspective it does point to a Google Music cloud service launch sooner rather than later (as has previously been stated in here (http://www.themusicvoid.com/2011/03/google-music-service-nowhere-near-ready/) ). Reinforcing this is the fact that Amazon launched their own music cloud locker service last week without any licenses from label owners.  TMV also broke the news that Apple/iTunes had closed a deal with Warner Music for its own cloud music locker service and was using that as leverage to strong arm the other labels to agree to license.

Since Amazon’s launch, it has laid down a test case to outline that perhaps services do not after all need to secure licenses to enable their users to store music in the cloud and have music fans stream music from their lockers to any device. Wayne Rosso provides some dynamic insight within his story on TMV where he states that “It’s very simple—money. Like in legal fees. The main issues are currently being litigated in the EMI v. MP3tunes case. Why spend a lot of dough to start a lawsuit against a formidable defendant like Amazon when EMI is already 3 years down the road with their suit?)”

The can of worms opened by Amazon’s cloud music locker service, are so numerous and no doubt troublesome for the music business. If they don’t have to pay, perhaps it sets a precedent that Google will not have to obtain licenses. And what about Apple that has already paid out a no doubt large sum to WMG? (the story broken by TMV here (http://www.themusicvoid.com/2011/03/apple-pushing-labels-for-april-music-locker-launch/) ). Where does it leave them? Will Apple ask for that payment to Warner Music to be paid back? Now that the horse has bolted and a legal, cloud music locker service has been launched by Amazon without licenses from the recorded music business, little own publishers, will Google and Apple iTunes have to pay?

Going further does the music industry have the cash reserves to fight, Amazon, Google and Apple/iTunes on the issue of the supposed requirement for licenses to enable users to store previously purchased music in cloud locker services? If as in Wayne’s post titled ‘Why The Record Industry Will Not Sue the industry does wait for the EMI vs. MP3Tunes.com lawsuit to play out, then we could see all three digital corporate behemoths launch music lockers services without licenses and give the proverbial index finger to the recorded music business. Also, if the labels do not sue Amazon, where does that leave the EMI vs. MP3Tunes.com lawsuit?

TMV believe the labels are now in a corner where they are damned if they do and damned if they do not.  As such I would expect a couple of labels to jump into the lawsuit pit as not to do so would leave them open to charges of rank hypocrisy, little own ensure other services launching without licenses. On a final note, TMV sincerely hope recent events prevent Apple/iTunes from essentially illegally strong-arming the labels to license its music locker first before Amazon and Google. Now the cat is out of the bag the music business finally has some true hope of competition in the marketplace whether it likes it or not.

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