updated 03:25 pm EST, Fri December 9, 2011
Google may counter iTunes with music vid licenses
Google on Friday bought RightsFlow to accelerate YouTube and its music efforts. The deal will give it a team dedicated to licensing and paying artists and labels. Its exact intentions weren't clear, although it would be solving the "really challenging problem" of copyright.
Terms of the deal weren't discussed, although RightsFlow's 30 million-song catalog likely meant it would handle much or all of the licensing.
In linking up with YouTube, the deal would likely be to help drive YouTube as a hub for music videos. Google recently renewed its partnership with Vevo and could see the deal either smooth out the relationship or supplement it with content licensed through YouTube itself.
Having RightsFlow might also help in speeding up licensing for the Google music store. Google has most majors and independents onboard, but its catalog is still millions short of Amazon MP3 and Apple's iTunes. An agreement could ease licensing both music and videos, including for interviews and other special segments.