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Google Play signs up Warner; scan-and-match and European roll out now incoming

By | Published on Tuesday 30 October 2012

Google Play

Good news for the 57 people buying their digital music from Google Play – yes, you will be able to buy the new Bruno Mars LP from your download store of choice come 11 Dec, because the web giant has finally persuaded the Warner Music Group to get on board with its digi-beats-shizzle, launched, as I’m sure you’ll all remember, at that ‘Lets Pretend To Be Steve Jobs’-athon Google execs put on for us all last November.

Warner, so often the hold-out on new digital services, has finally agreed to play ball with the web giant, meaning the mini-major’s catalogues will slowly start to appear in the Google Play store. Perhaps more importantly, having all three major labels on board now means that Google can add scan-and-match functionality to its digital locker, bringing its file-storage offer for music fans inline with rivals Apple and Amazon.

As previously reported, while in most territories (though not the UK) web companies can offer basic cloud-storage for music files to consumers without having any deals in place with music rights owners, if they want to add enhanced functionality – in particular the function whereby the digital locker platform scans a user’s offline MP3 collection and automatically replicates it online without said user having to do any uploading – then label and music publisher licences are required.

Both Amazon and Google entered the digital locker market without such licences, but with both recognising the need for scan-and-match – especially once Apple launched its licensed digital locker service – talks with the music companies were ongoing. Amazon added scan-and-match in August, and rumours that Google would likewise go that route imminently emerged last month, though having a gap the size of the Warner catalogue in that service (meaning any Warner-owned tracks could not be automatically placed into a user’s locker), would have been a major weakness.

With Warner now on board, and scan-and-match ready to be added to its digital locker, Google will also launch its music service in five European territories – the UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain – on 13 Nov; in fact it looks like European users might get access to Google’s scan-and-match service before existing Google Play users in the US. All of which is good news for that European Bruno Mars fan who had pledged to only buy the pop dwarf’s new long player via the web giant that is Google.