Google has been planning its music service for more than a year now, and it still can’t decide what it wants.CNET’s Greg Sandoval reports that Google has been talking to Spotify about powering its online music service, resuming talks that broke off last year.
Last year, a source told us that Google had considered buying Spotify, but internal fighting prevented the deal from taking place.
CNET also reports that Google was trying to reach agreements with the major record labels about launching a combination subscription service (like Spotify) and locker service (which would offer online backup for music users already own), but that talks have broken down. This echoes other reports saying Google’s talks with record labels are going backwards because Google keeps changing its mind about what it wants.
Google originally wanted the service to launch last year. Then it targeted SXSW in March. The next logical date would be the Google I/O conference in May — that’s where Google first demonstrated a music service last year — but with these setbacks, who knows?
Multiple sources confirm that Google has been internally testing a simple locker-based service, and could launch something like Amazon Cloud Drive today. (Amazon launched its service last month without label licenses, and is taking the stance that it doesn’t need them because it’s only offering online storage, not selling songs.)
But apparently Google wants the service to be a category killer from day one, so now it’s holding out for more features and trying to get the full sign-off from content owners.
Earlier this month, Google bought digital music company Pushlife for $25 million. PushLife offers technology that lets users combine their personal music library with offerings from a cell carrier’s music store. Google could be looking at PushLife to bring this kind of combination experience to Android.
In the meantime, Apple is said to be done with its own music locker service and has already signed deals with two of the four major record labels.
There’s an old saying in software development: don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. After more than a year of false starts and missed launch dates, it might be time for Google to take this saying to heart.
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