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Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the they'll-never-stop-arguing dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google has sent out press invitations to an event on Wednesday where it's expected they'll unveil their long-rumored Google Music download service. CNET reports that while Google already has an agreement in place with Universal, talks with Sony and Warner Music Group are still in progress, and won't be finished by the time Google Music launches. 'The negotiations between Google and the labels by and large have not gone well for either side. The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how, money, and Internet presence to give iTunes a run for its money. ... Yet, the company is once again launching a major part of its music service without acquiring licenses and this may serve to widen the rift between the company and some of the labels. '"
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Google Music Downloads To Go Ahead Without Sony Or Warner

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  • by ksd1337 (1029386) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:12PM (#38036844)
    The RIAA is relatively small. Google should just buy the entire thing.
    • Do you mean "buy the whole music industry"?

    • Amazon is good (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I have been buying and downloading cheap MP3's from Amazon for a while. Not sure why it isn't considered a "serious" competitor of iTunes.

      • I have been buying and downloading cheap MP3's from Amazon for a while. Not sure why it isn't considered a "serious" competitor of iTunes.

        So do I, sometimes - but revenue wise I don't think amazon is even close to iTunes yet. The music industry wants two strong players they play against each other, not a giant player who dictates terms to THEM...

        • Re:Revenue (Score:5, Insightful)

          by LeperPuppet (1591409) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:52PM (#38037080)

          not a giant player who dictates terms to THEM...

          Well, they wouldn't be in that position if they'd tried actually innovating over the last decade instead of running around shrieking about piracy. Instead they let another company monopolise their newest distribution channel.

          If they want a strong competitor to Apple, they're going to have to play nicely with others and somehow beat Apple on prices or features, neither of which they're likely to let Google do.

          • by hedwards (940851)

            Them screwing up is no reason for the CEOs to suffer.

          • Re:Revenue (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @10:11PM (#38038544)

            not a giant player who dictates terms to THEM...

            Well, they wouldn't be in that position if they'd tried actually innovating over the last decade instead of running around shrieking about piracy. Instead they let another company monopolise their newest distribution channel.

            If they want a strong competitor to Apple, they're going to have to play nicely with others and somehow beat Apple on prices or features, neither of which they're likely to let Google do.

            They wouldn't be in that position if they'd had the wit to realize that the end of the shiny-plastic-disc era was upon them, and had worked with Shawn Fanning and Napster rather than suing them into oblivion. They had their chance to seize control of content distribution on the Internet ... and blew it. And what happens when industries miss opportunities like that is that they die. Unfortunately, like SCO, like every zombie flick ever made, these guys just keep coming back and causing even more damage because they still don't get it.

      • Re:Amazon is good (Score:4, Interesting)

        by JWW (79176) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @09:15PM (#38038254)

        What the record companies don't realize is that what they provide is no longer required in the era of internet downloadable music.

        It is curious that they "want" another competitor for iTunes because they can't compete in the internet music scene. But eventually when Amazon, Google, and iTunes control all the digital distribution and all other distribution has withered away, why will there be a need for record companies. Why shouldn't Apple, Google, and Amazon get their OWN recording artists and cut out the completely and utterly useless RIAA middlemen?

        I so want Google, or Apple or Amazon or all of them combined, to buy (via hostile takeover) one of the remaining big "record" companies. Then they can fire all of the management and show the surviving companies what companies that are really innovative can do in the music industry.

        The RIAA is in the unique position of selling their goods to people who hate them. I do buy music through iTunes so that I have legal copies, although I do load the DRM free music on every device I have, which I know is not what they'd prefer. But I am buying music legally.

        However, if they get SOPA passed and IMHO jeopardize the entire internet (which my job is based on), I will stop holding my nose while buying music through iTunes, and just stop buying music completely.

        • Re:Amazon is good (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ScrewMaster (602015) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @10:13PM (#38038556)

          Why shouldn't Apple, Google, and Amazon get their OWN recording artists and cut out the completely and utterly useless RIAA middlemen?

          While I agree with your point, keep in mind that the RIAA and the content cartel that funds them are not the same thing. The RIAA in the U.S., the CRIA in Canada, and similar front organizations worldwide are just attack dogs: lawyers paid to do what their lords and masters tell them to do. The RIAA is not a middleman: the likes of Universal, BMG, Vivendi and others are the middlemen.

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          *Why shouldn't Apple, Google, and Amazon get their OWN recording artists and cut out the completely and utterly useless RIAA middlemen?*

          why shouldn't you? it's actually pretty hard and there's 50 million people trying(the making the music popular part, _not_ the part about streaming and selling it over the internet, but actually making people want to do that). what they could do, would be to buy license holder rights to like, top 1000 songs ever made. but that would still just provide them with a good libra

      • Their user interface sucks. Their download client is two years out of date (Ubuntu 9.10) and does not support 64 bit architectures; their browser-based interface requires downloading every file individually - and very carefully, because for reasons that only make sense to Amazon, your personal download link will only work once.

        Apple is evil, but they always make it as easy as possible to buy from them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fa2k (881632)

          [Amazon's] download client is two years out of date (Ubuntu 9.10) and does not support 64 bit architectures[...]

          Apple is evil, but they always make it as easy as possible to buy from them.

          So it's easier to use a Windows client in Wine, requiring a 9-step [ubuntuka.com] process to install it?

        • This was not my experience recently (Ubuntu 11.10) ; I bought an album for my wife, and Banshee just queued the download of all the tracks, and told me when it was finished.

          9.10 installs Rhythmbox by default IIRC. I'm not sure it's entirely fair to claim that a client is 2 years out of date, when it's part of a 2 year old operating system with a policy of tying major functional changes to the distribution as a whole, and only releasing bug fixes for older versions.

    • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:38PM (#38036990) Homepage

      In the 1990s, Warner Music was the largest record company. Now they're third. Warner Music is owned by a Russian oligarch, Leonard Blavatnik, who bought it last July. If Google had wanted Warner Music, they could have bought it then. It sold for $3 billion (actually only $320 million in cash plus the assumption of debt) a few months ago.

      Google probably doesn't want to own a record company. It would be a distraction.

      • by Baloroth (2370816)

        Google probably doesn't want to own a record company. It would be a distraction.

        Not to mention completely violate their motto.

      • by utkonos (2104836) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @09:12PM (#38038232)
        Just because a person has a Russian last name does not make them an oligarch. According to wikipedia: "Born in the Soviet Union, he attended University in Moscow. He emigrated with his family from Russia to the U.S. in 1978, and received a masters in computer science from Columbia University and an MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 1989. In the West, he is known as Len Blavatnik."

        That is hardly the profile of an oligarch. Sounds more like an American who made it big. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_oligarch).
    • They could launch their own label. I suppose they kinda did with youtube.

      • by CmdrPony (2505686)
        What? Google didn't launch YouTube. They bought them. Just like Android and any other product they have, apart from search and AdWords.
  • by CmdrPony (2505686) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:16PM (#38036860)
    It's their half-assed attempts to create new products, and releasing them way too early. It's not only with Google Music, it seems to be a company wide practice and can be seen with Google+, Google TV, their coding languages, even Android and quite much any product they put out. Gmail was put out with the same tactic, but it actually offered much more than competitors did back then (good amount of space and great interface).

    However, every one of Google's recent products just are not offering anything new, anything better or anything more. In most cases it's actually completely reverse. What they offer is a lot less than competitors do. And yet they still continue the bad practice, and are once again starting a new service that offers significantly less. People will just lose interest and never try to product again. I suspect this will happen with Google Music, Google+ and every other product they put out with the same tactic.

    Please Google, finish and polish what you start before releasing them!
    • by Billly Gates (198444) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:28PM (#38036938) Journal

      Not only does Google put out products early but they cancel them quickly too. They are starting to hit HP syndrome where they quickly halt investments if it does not produce a sizable return in just a single 6 week quarter. the cost accountants are running the show in order to boast its shareprice. I have seen the change within the first year as anyone else has.

      Google+ was declared a failure within 1 month. I mean come on! Gmail was not popular either at first and I bet if these accountants were in charge of Google back in 2007 gmail would have been canned within 60 days as well because it did not boast the shareprice as well.

      I understand it is a business and needs constant 6 - 8 week growth spurts to bring a higher share price to make investors happy and justify the CEO's compensation, but they are killing the goose with the golden egg to quickly. Companies that start to do these things always end up being sorry later. Again, HP syndrome.

      If I were a shareholder I would be tempted to sell. It still has a high price not to mention all these ventures that quickly open and close cost money and show a company that is acting frantically desperate.

      • by icebike (68054) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @06:05PM (#38037154)

        If I were a shareholder I would be tempted to sell. It still has a high price not to mention all these ventures that quickly open and close cost money and show a company that is acting frantically desperate.

        On the contrary, it shows a company that has a lot of skill at judging what will and what will not add to their bottom line. It shows a nimble management.
        G+ has not been declared a failure (except perhaps in your jaded opinion). Far from it.

      • by LibRT (1966204)
        "...if it does not produce a sizable return in just a single 6 week quarter" - ya, they ought to give their products at least an 8 week quarter!
      • by Cl1mh4224rd (265427) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @09:12PM (#38038230)

        Google+ was declared a failure within 1 month. I mean come on!

        By whom? Certainly not anyone at Google. For whatever reason, they need—or want very badly—Google+ to succeed. They're going to great lengths to accommodate their last shot at breaking into the social networking scene. Only since the release of Google+ have they made a serious attempt to create a consistent visual "theme" across all of their services, and they're even reducing the functionality of their other services (e.g. the removal of the + operator from Search) to allow for Google+-related features.

        Google's betting a lot on Google+.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by icebike (68054)

      Your entire takeaway is based on google hate.

      It is a company that throws a lot onto the wall and sees what sticks. You should have known that going in. Its what they do. It works for them.

      They are good a shedding un-productive products, sidewiki, Buzz, App Inventor etc., instead of running themselves into the ground maintaining stuff that has no market draw and no hope of a revenue stream.

      Google Music is New, Better, and More. Its also Different, easy to manage, and (soon) will have a revenue stream. I p

      • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:41PM (#38037014)

        It is a company that throws a lot onto the wall and sees what sticks.

        Nothing will stick if they will not finish it before it's out in public.

        I was pretty interested in Google+ when it launched. But because I had a paid Google Apps account for my business, I could NOT use my business email account for Google+!! Madness for a major feature like Google+ at launch, to screw over your paying customers.

        Now they support Google+ from an apps account. But you know what? I don't think I care anymore. And in fact because of that backhanded slap to a paying customer, I am totally migrating off Google Apps after this year.

        You can't just throw random half-baked things out and expect the bake sale to go well.

        • by icebike (68054) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:58PM (#38037108)

          Nothing will stick if they will not finish it before it's out in public.

          You mean like Gmail, Maps, Search, Google Earth? Those all wore a Beta tag for years and years.

          By any definition, I would say they have stuck.

          I find it telling that you wanted them to allow your business on G+ from day one, and at the same time fault them for not testing and completing something before releasing it. Clue: They beta tested it with individuals to shake out the bugs and see if it works before unleashing it on businesses.

          Then your get all huffy and stomp off because they didn't beta test on your business?!!???

          Apparently they care more about the integrity of your business than you do!

          • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @12:17AM (#38039038)

            You mean like Gmail, Maps, Search, Google Earth? Those all wore a Beta tag for years and years.

            The ORIGINAL DAMN POINT was that Google used to be able to ship products that, though beta, by and large worked and they could be built upon. I used and liked ALL of the products you mentioned; though beta they worked very well and had a good feature set at launch that made them useful.

            Fast-forward to the more recent years of what I can only now describe as utter clusterfuck. Wave, Google+ which (as I said) I could not use for MONTHS AFTER LAUNCH because I was stupid enough to GIVE GOOGLE MONEY.

            Was anyone who paid google for anything unable to use Maps at launch? No? Huh!

            You are living in the past, where sadly Google no longer is. They have lost the mojo they used to have of being able to launch a really usable beta, instead of firing crap at a wall to "see what sticks". Nothing is sticking!

            I like Google, I have nothing against them. My moving away from them is because they have become inept and I have low tolerance for being screwed over as a paying customer.

      • I put my music in, its automatically on my devices, no cables. It just works. One second after creating a playlist on line its on my phone. On my tablet.

        This seems like what Apple has right now with iCloud, except apple also supports my receiver (Pioneer), my computer (iTunes), my TV (through Apple TV).

        I can buy or upload music from any source available to me, not just ONE. For free. How is this less?

        Because you can buy music from any source available right now for iDevices. It's not less, just late.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Only danger about waiting too long for release is everyone moves ahead of you. In today's ADHD new shiny object world its often better to release *something* to get it out there in front of people, then refine it in version 2.

    • by Hatta (162192) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:56PM (#38037090) Journal

      Please Google, finish and polish what you start before releasing them!

      That would be the swedish thing they could do.

    • When Page took over as CEO from Eric Schmidt, he asked Steve Jobs for advice. After initial reservations, given the competitive animosity between Apple and Google, Jobs told him in so many words that Google's product strategy was all over the place, and they needed to stop releasing half-baked products and to concentrate on just five. He said that Google needed to focus on just a few things, and to polish them into world-beaters before releasing them.

      And Jobs was absolutely correct. Google's "throw-it-at
  • Wouldn't Apple have gone for exclusive deals?

    Doesn't launching the product without licenses in place put Google in a terrible negotiating position with the labels?

    • even if Apple did want exclusivity (not sure), maybe the labels flat-out refused.

      maybe if Google Music launches and things go well with just Universal on board, that would send a message to / set an example for Sony and Warner.

    • Doesn't launching the product without licenses in place put Google in a terrible negotiating position with the labels?

      No. It sounds like a rather strong negotiating position for Google.

      "Take the deal we are offering... or spend the next decade arguing with our lawyers."

      Google has very deep pockets, and can afford to take on a long court battle. The publicity from such a case would be a win for Google even if they lost in the end.

    • by Miseph (979059)

      It just means they can't sell music from those labels. If they are able to do decently well on sales in spite of this, it proves that customers are more interested in their distribution outlet than they are in the labels' music. That would be a pretty compelling reason for any labels not already on board to sign up sooner rather than later.

      So no, not really.

  • weird reversal (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Spy Handler (822350) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:30PM (#38036948) Homepage Journal

    The labels are eager for a serious iTunes competitor to emerge and believe Google has the technological know-how

    Normally, more competition = (lower price || better service)

    Right now iTunes dominates and has no competition, for all intents and purposes. The record labels don't like that, since Apple is holding them by the balls and forcing them cheap 99cent pricing and other things. So they want more competition for Apple.

    But if they get their way, and more competition appears, the record labels will be able to raise prices and make more money?

    • by AntEater (16627)

      ... and forcing them cheap 99cent pricing and other things.

      Maybe it's just me but 99c for streaming 4mb of bits to my local computer seems a bit excessive. I understand that the artist needs to be compensated and there are production costs, but the effective unit cost for a download heads towards zero pretty quickly for any music that is even moderately successful. A downloaded lossy compressed copy of an album should cost, at most, around $5. Of course, the bloated pigs that run the RIAA member corporations would rather run the industry into the ground rather

      • That's what I'll reply to.

        It's not about the 4 megs, it's about the 99c/costs to produce the song, which presumably had at least $5,000 of studio overhead per album.

        • $5k per album? Ok, I'll give you that. So, say they sell 1k copies, online. For break-even, that's $5/album. For $5 profit per sale, that's $10. But they don't sell 1k copies. They sell way, way more than that. Copying electronic media for online transmission probably has a fixed cost, independent of the album (since they make deals with ISPs), and probably should be accounted for in the 5k anyway, How do you justify their prices then? Or the ridiculous amounts that journals and their publication houses cha
          • But they don't sell 1k copies. They sell way, way more than that.

            The recording industry has a blockbuster mentality. Some albums go platinum; others fail to recoup the costs of recording and reasonable promotion. The record label functions as a venture capitalist, hoping that the winners make up for the losers.

        • by sjbe (173966) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @07:49PM (#38037700)

          It's not about the 4 megs, it's about the 99c/costs to produce the song, which presumably had at least $5,000 of studio overhead per album.

          If the recording studio can't control their costs, that isn't my problem. While I don't pretend to be an expert in the music industry, I am actually a certified accountant and I'm quite comfortable saying that everything I've observed about that industry indicates they aren't very good at cost control. While there is a meaningful cost to the production of an album, the overhead is fixed and can be amortized over numerous projects. The labor to produce the record is also basically fixed. It's fairly similar to R&D in that once it goes to market there are no more costs, especially with digital distribution.

          Most of the costs in a record label should be in sales and marketing (rather like a software firm actually). The actual product development is rather inexpensive - maybe 10-20% of the total costs. The real expense is in promotion (and formerly in distribution) so the labels haven't really needed to care much about cost control in the actual studio time because it is tiny by comparison. That doesn't mean though that I as the customer should be willing to pay for their inefficiency.

          Ask yourself this. Are you really willing to pay the record companies the money it costs you to market a record to you? Are you really willing to pay some extravagant rate for studio time? Personally I have no interest at all in paying for their marketing budget or other production inefficiencies. I'm pretty confident that even at $0.99/song, the margins are pretty fat for the record companies given that the marginal cost of sales done digitally is a good approximation of zero.

      • by Fjandr (66656)

        Fiber optic cabling should be cheap too. After all, it's just glass and plastic.

        While I agree that the overhead in the music industry doesn't likely justify their current pricing, the argument to tie retail cost to delivery and raw content values is naive at best.

        There's a lot of production effort that resulted in the original creation. Just because it can be reproduced for an insignificant amount after it's created does not mean the actual cost of creation is nearly zero. Additionally, any content creation

    • by DeadDecoy (877617)
      99 cents is really not that cheap. Consider a typical CD with 12 +/- 4 songs. You'd be paying about 12$ to store a couple of bits in the cloud. This is roughly the same price one could find at Walmart or Target, albeit with less of a selection. Apple has the record companies by the balls, not because they offer a cheaper service, but because now they're getting a significant cut of the profits while co-opting their job as content distributor. If artists can publish over itunes, they suddenly make the existi
    • by quantaman (517394)

      Apple and the labels are both still competing against free which factors into the price point. It will also be hard for a new competitor to charge more since people could just purchase the song for cheaper from Apple since a label probably doesn't want to withhold their music from a big retailer like Apple.

  • Here's a hint to Google. If I can visit Youtube (or a similar music service) to see how good the music is before I buy it, and they make it fairly cheap (say 10p-£2 per track), I will be buying tons of individual tracks and enjoying it.

    However, I want a single click, and download of the Mp3/video to my drive in non-DRM format without any fuss or hassle. That's the thing, and I imagine Google is one of the only companies non-evil enough to pull it off.

    • by GuruBuckaroo (833982) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:34PM (#38036968) Homepage
      You mean exactly like Amazon's music store?
    • If I can visit Youtube (or a similar music service) to see how good the music is before I buy it, and they make it fairly cheap (say 10p-£2 per track), I will be buying tons of individual tracks and enjoying it.

      Why not just use iTunes today? You can preview any track for a minute, which is plenty long enough for me to decide if I like a song or not. Then you can buy tracks as you see fit (usually).

      • by Twinbee (767046)

        Even if they supply non-DRM tracks, and they are below say 50p, iTunes is a mediocre player for the PC compared to something like Mediamonkey [skytopia.com].

        And I doubt they'd supply the rarer tracks I'd be interested in anyway.
        And I bet they make you jump through hoops for anyone wanting to upload their tracks to sell.

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Sunday November 13, 2011 @01:00AM (#38039202)

          Even if they supply non-DRM tracks,

          All tracks are DRM free AAC files, and have been for years. You can play them on a Zune.

          and they are below say 50p

          They are what the music companies would allow them to be on any service.

          iTunes is a mediocre player for the PC

          Then use Mediamonkey, once you down long the song you can use anything that supports standard AAC audio to play it back and organize it (still has all the of the needed ID3-like tags and such).

          And I doubt they'd supply the rarer tracks I'd be interested in anyway.

          iTunes has a far wider collection of stuff than anyone, and allows indies to publish. I'm not saying they will have everything but if they don't have it it's unlikely you will find it anywhere.

          And I bet they make you jump through hoops for anyone wanting to upload their tracks to sell.

          That's just silly. You really think Apple is harder to publish with than EMI? Good luck getting a contract on your next xylophone solo album at EMI.

  • Just buy the bastards outright. ( tho trying to buy Sony would be tough, they are much larger than most realize )

    • Re:Why negoitate? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @08:24PM (#38037918)

      Sony as a whole is rather large, but their music division is not that big.

      The real issue is that nobody could ever buy all the major music labels and make it past the antitrust authorities.

      Of course, they could just buy whichever one has the most attractive catalog and then fire most of the management and replace them with people with souls and then stop acting in lockstep with the rest of the cartel. I would love to see the reaction of the other labels if one of them suddenly started selling tracks for less than half the cartel price and giving new artists well-balanced contracts instead of bending them over. It would be like watching a corporation have a heart attack.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @05:56PM (#38037092)

    Reading this, and thinking about how Google+, Google TV, etc. have floundered so far... in a lot of ways, Google's attempts to move into new markets reminds me a lot of Microsoft's "strategic" moves over the past several years. I'm not convinced Google has an overarching strategic plan. A lot of their moves lately seem like "me too" decisions made without anyone really thinking very far ahead.

    It's almost like the only thinking that went into this was "hey, we have lots of money; and that really seems like an area we should get into - where's the checkbook?"

    • I'm not convinced Google has an overarching strategic plan.

      Of course they do - it used to be "do everything Microsoft does" but it's now become "do everything Apple does."

      Sadly, I wish I was joking...

    • by Animats (122034) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @07:04PM (#38037442) Homepage

      Microsoft's "strategic" moves over the past several years...

      The difference is that Microsoft stays with something until they dominate the industry. The original XBox lost money from beginning to end. Now Microsoft's game operation is profitable, and they and Nintendo are on top, Sony is in trouble and Sega is forgotten.

      Recently, a Microsoft exec made the comment that Microsoft is happy with Bing's progress. They gained 4% market share in search last year, and are now at 30%. Five more years and they might pass Google. Once Bing passes Google. they become the "must be on" ad network.

      (Take that threat seriously. Twelve years ago, the top search engine was Lycos, "the catalog of the Internet". Where are they now? Myspace and Yahoo have tanked. Microsoft is still here. The one-product companies haven't done so well. And Google is a one-product company - ads are 96% of revenue. Despite many attempts, Google has never had a second winning product that generates serious revenue. The free stuff doesn't count.)

      • The difference is that Microsoft stays with something until they dominate the industry. The original XBox lost money from beginning to end. Now Microsoft's game operation is profitable, and they and Nintendo are on top, Sony is in trouble and Sega is forgotten

        You seem to have come down with a bad case of selective memory. A Google fan could've made the same statement, just replacing "XBox" with "Android". However, in both cases, it'd be pointing out one success while ignoring multiple failures.

        You can certainly argue "take that threat seriously", and we won't know who's right for another 4-5 years in all likelihood. But I remember reading pretty much these same arguments a few years ago when they launched the Zune - Microsoft was "happy with Zune's progress" as

      • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @08:50PM (#38038076)

        The difference is that Microsoft stays with something until they dominate the industry. The original XBox lost money from beginning to end. Now Microsoft's game operation is profitable, and they and Nintendo are on top, Sony is in trouble and Sega is forgotten.

        The trouble is that XBOX is still on the balance sheet as a net operating loss because of the billions of dollars they sunk into it. All they've accomplished is to stop losing money year over year. They're still in a giant hole compared with having put the same money in US treasury bonds or whatever else you like. And there is every indication that going forward, mobile devices will become faster and start replacing consoles as gaming devices for ever more resource intensive games, which creates a serious question as to whether they will ever even make back their initial investment.

        They gained 4% market share in search last year, and are now at 30%.

        Bing's market share is attributable almost entirely to it being the default search engine in Internet Explorer. And Internet Explorer's market share has been on a slow decline for about a decade with no indication of stopping. Incidentally, what does it say about Bing that it's the default in Internet Explorer but has lower market share than Internet Explorer does?

        The free stuff doesn't count.

        The free stuff produces ad revenue. Is ad revenue somehow not money?

  • Label or no labels, I'll purchase from Google if they do the following:

    1. Allow lossless music purchases
    2. Allow purchased music to not count against your storage quota
    3. Allow redownloading your purchased music "forever"
    4. Price music well (by "well", I mean less than or equal to Amazon/iTunes/CDs)

    #2-4 are probably a given, but I'm really not counting on #1 happening. Amazon doesn't do it and iTunes only has the ALAC* format. Google Music converts FLAC to 320kbps MP3 before uploading currently, so I'm taki
  • by future assassin (639396) on Saturday November 12, 2011 @06:20PM (#38037216) Homepage

    http://www.ektoplazm.com/ [ektoplazm.com]

    Plenty of good music out there that doesn't cost much and produced by people who actually want to make music for music sakes.

  • ...Why doesn't Google use its presence to promote unsigned artists and those "download friendly" guys such as Grateful Dead, Phish, Alan Hurtz, Max Creek... hell, why not mirror this [archive.org]? OK, hardly any of it is studio, it's 99.9% live recordings and capture quality is variable. To say nothing of the artists themselves (and some of them sound very different from their studio stuff - it becomes obvious, and sometimes painfully so, who has their studio vocals fed through a digital processor...

    There's an obvious a

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