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Surprising Science

Did Google Just Ruin Record Companies?

Google has unveiled a music purchasing platform that allows musicians to directly upload their songs for purchase, bypassing record labels entirely. Is this the nail in the coffin?

What’s the Latest Development?

Google has unveiled a new music purchasing platform which allows musicians to directly upload their songs for sale, bypassing record labels entirely. While it also negotiated contracts with major music labels and smaller distributors, Google has made itself the world’s most democratic band manager: “Artists can build their own artist pages, upload original content, and set their own prices, with Google giving artists 70 percent of sales revenue.” All data will be stored on cloud servers, available from any computer.

What’s the Big Idea?

Do democracies inevitably produce watered-down art? Will Google’s music sharing platform make it impossible to find music refined—and improved—by professional labels and proper recording studios? Google says its staff will curate the massive library, putting the best music up front so that listeners don’t have to search as hard for the music they are looking for. Undoubtedly the news is good for independent artists who can give their music a global audience and for listeners who want to hear something truly new.

Photo credit: Annette Shaff /


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