Monday, April 18, 2011

Google should buy the music industry, says Glynn Moody

There's an interesting bit on Techdirt and opendotdotdot pointing out that Google, rather than being disgusted by the labels, could actually buy them. Without breaking a sweat.

It's not a totally original thought - at an In The City at the end of the last century I remember hearing someone pointing out that Bill Gates could buy all four major labels should he wish (assuming the competition laws would let him). Maybe he should have done - that might have given the Zune some leverage over the iPod.

Still, Glynn Moody thinks the thought again:

But that throwaway comment also raises another interesting idea: how about if Google *did* buy the music industry? That would solve its licensing problems at a stroke. Of course, the anti-trust authorities around the world would definitely have something to say about this, so it might be necessary to tweak the idea a little.

How about 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?
EMI and Warners are both up for sale right now, it's true; but it's hard to picture Google and Microsoft setting their differences aside long enough to employ Josh Groban. Nor is it clear why Baidu would want to sink its money into Western labels.

But it's a lovely idea. Unworkable, but lovely.

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