Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Google Signs Deal With Warner Music Group

BEN SISARIO/The New York Times

Google got one of the key pieces of its digital music puzzle in place over the weekend when it finally signed a deal to bring the catalog of the Warner Music Group — with Green Day, Madonna, Neil Young, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and hundreds of other acts — to its Play store.

The news of the deal was tucked in a Google company blog post on Monday that was mostly about new models of its Nexus phones and tablets. But for Google’s music service, which has struggled to gain traction against iTunes, Amazon and the myriad of other digital services, it is an important step. It means that Google’s millions of Android users — whose devices do not have iTunes — will finally have an essentially complete catalog of MP3s to buy.

“We’re now working with all of the major record labels globally, and all the major U.S. magazine publishers, as well as many independent labels, artists and publishers,” wrote Andy Rubin, the company’s senior vice president for mobile and digital content.

Google also announced in its blog post that its music store will open in Western Europe on Nov. 13.

In Europe, it will introduce “scan and match,” a crucial feature for cloud music. It matches songs on a customer’s computer to a master database on Google’s servers, allowing users to skip the laborious task of uploading every single song. (The feature will not be ready in the United States until “soon after” its introduction in Europe on Nov. 13, Mr. Rubin wrote.

Warner controls about 15 percent of the world’s recorded music market, according to the trade publication Music & Copyright. But it was absent when Google announced its MP3 store last November; Warner was also the last of the big record labels to sign a deal with Spotify, the digital music service.

In March, Google consolidated its MP3 store, along with the Android app marketplace and stores for movies, television and magazines, under the Play umbrella. Its branding efforts included a truck that gave out free ice cream at the Celebrate Brooklyn concerts in New York this summer.

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