updated 03:45 pm EDT, Fri April 15, 2011
Google Music talks regressing
Google Music's progress may have not only stalled but backfired if a leak Friday is accurate. A change in terms over the past few weeks may have seen progress "gone backwards" as the two sides couldn't reach a deal. Whether or not it was the direct cause, AllThingsD heard the discussions for cloud music were fundamentally "broken" and that Google was even reconsidering the plans themselves.
Label heads had recently claimed discussions were going "smoothly" and could come near a deal soon, though this contradicted what other sources were saying, including other labels.
Speculation has raised the possibility that Amazon's Cloud Drive and Cloud Player may have complicated the situation. The company knowingly shipped a limited service, without mobile-to-cloud syncing, but did so without the explicit permission of labels. Amazon is believed to have sat down for more negotiations in an attempt to persuade labels that its service is at least legal and may need expansion.
Google has only ever alluded to what Google Music would entail, but Android build leaks and other slips have pointed to a mixed store and streaming service. It would still allow for per-track downloads but could deliver content over a live connection and cache it for playing offline. It might include a media locker to store a user's collection whether or not it was bought at the store, a point which is often considered the point of contention for labels who believe they're owed a second royalty payment just for having music stored remotely.
The delay or even cancellation could give Apple an advantage. Although Apple faces the same obstacles to negotiations that Google does, it has said its iTunes and MobileMe datacenter is on track for a spring rollout in what many see as a sign of its cloud services being ready. Rumors have emerged that it has overcome differences with labels that Google hasn't worked around so far.