Google To Bypass Record Companies, Launching Cloud Music Service

Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is going ahead without approval of the major record labels and will unveil its cloud-based music program at the search giant’s I/O event, according to several reports.

As MocoNews’ Tom Krazit noted earlier today in his I/O preview, the Google Music initiative was expected, but considered a wild card.

The Google Music program is similar to the one recently rolled out by Amazon: it allows listeners to store their music on the cloud, using it as a remote hard drive. And like, Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN), which launched its cloud-based music service at the end of March, Google has not completed agreements with the four major music labels, the WSJ notes, citing unidentified sources.

However, the Google Music plan the company will preview at its conference in San Francisco will not be for a live product; rather, this will be in a private test and not publicly available.

Ultimately, Google decided it was better to deliver a basic version than wait until it could get the full support of the labels, MediaMemo’s Peter Kafka notes. “Unfortunately, a couple of the major labels were less focused on the innovative vision that we put forward, and more interested in in an unreasonable and unsustainable set of business terms,” Jamie Rosenberg, who runs digital content and strategy for Google’s Android platform, told MediaMemo.

One difference with Amazon Music is that Google will not be opening up a retail store where it will sell Mp3s. However, users will have the ability to add new tunes to the service once they acquire them.

The service comes as Amazon is trying to secure a toehold in the music space, as it prepares for a similar cloud-based music offering from Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) and the arrival of Europe’s popular Spotify service in the U.S. Spotify has had trouble getting the necessary licenses for its service, primarily because record labels are not convinced that the company makes enough money to justify an agreement.