Google may launch its music store without acquiring the rights from record labels.
Friday brought reports that Google was in talks with record labels to launch a fully-loaded music store to compliment its current Music Beta virtual locker. The company was hoping to have the MP3 store up and running within the next few weeks before Apple launched its iTunes Match service, and around the time Ice Cream Sandwich begins to emerge. But the company is reportedly having trouble because the record labels still aren't convinced that Google has addressed all their issues over piracy.
But Google may launch its MP3 store without acquiring the rights anyway despite their concerns. Friday the Wall Street Journal said that EMI Group, the label responsible for Katy Perry, Gorillaz, Pink Floyd and more, was the only one close to a deal with Google. The search engine giant is still reportedly hammering out the details with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music although they're nowhere close to reaching an agreement.
However Business Insider reports that it was contacted by the owner of an independent record label. This unnamed source claims that his distributor, also unnamed, said that Google's music store will definitely launch in Q4 2011. Major catalog titles will arrive on Google's music platform first followed by "more obscure titles."
According to the report, the distributor told the indie label owner that he had a few days to make any concerns known. The label owner thus said that his biggest concern was that the major labels will take big up-front payments from Google Music then not share those payments with the smaller artists that his label handles.
As it stands now, the ongoing Google Music saga hasn't changed much since Friday although we're now looking at a Q4 2011 release. It's possible that we'll hear more about Google's MP3 storefront on Tuesday during the Samsung/Google Ice Cream Sandwich press conference... we may even see the store's official launch if Google plans to open shop without acquiring the rights.