Google Has This New Challenge for Apple

Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is taking on Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) in online content after reaching a licensing deal to add 5.5 million musical works from 35 countries around the world to its Google Play service. The agreement with Armonia, the alliance of French, Italian, and Spanish licensing groups, is probably the broadest of its kind, and includes the British and American collections of Universal Music Publishing and Sony Music’s Latin works.

“We’re thrilled to have reached an agreement with the Armonia societies,” Google’s head of music licensing, Sami Valkonen, told MusicWeek.com. “Licenses such as this are important in ensuring that artists and rights-holders are rewarded fairly for their creative endeavors, and digital service providers are able to bring innovative services to market for the benefit of European consumers.”

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Valkonen added that the agreement would simplify and speed up the music-licensing process, as it was a step forward in the “ongoing reform of pan-territorial licensing in Europe.”

Google Play, which now hosts about 675,000 apps and games, was created in March by combining the company’s separate sites to purchase Android-based apps, music, e-books, and other content. According to Catherine Kerr-Vignale of France’s SACEM, while both Amazon and Apple’s iTunes have country-by-country licensing agreements, Google’s royalty for publishers and artists is in line with industry standards.

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