Bloomberg News

Google Said to Be Near Universal Music Deal for Song Downloads

November 15, 2011

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Google Inc. is near an agreement to secure songs from Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group for its new music service, said a person with knowledge of the situation.

An accord with Universal, the world’s biggest music company, may be signed as early as tomorrow, said the person, who isn’t authorized to talk publicly. Google sent out invitations for a music event on Nov. 16 in Los Angeles. EMI Group Ltd. has already signed on, two people said.

Google aims to open a music-download store that allows for copies of songs to be stored online and accessed from multiple devices, three of the people said. The company also seeks rights for its Google+ social-network users to share music with each other, the people said.

The service would bring together EMI artists including Coldplay and Katy Perry, and Universal Music performers such as Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, two people said. Sony Corp.’s music unit and Warner Music Group haven’t agreed because of pricing and piracy concerns, two others said.

Randall Sarafa, a spokesman for Mountain View, California- based Google, declined to comment.

The company, the owner of the biggest Internet search engine, has expanded into music, television and movies as it seeks to bolster sales of devices running its Android mobile software. The moves put it in competition with Apple Inc.’s iTunes online store.

Google rose 0.8 percent to $613 at the close today in New York trading. The shares have climbed 3.2 percent this year.

AllThingsD, the website owned by News Corp.’s Dow Jones & Co., reported on Nov. 11 that EMI had signed up and Universal was near an agreement, citing industry sources.

--Editors: Anthony Palazzo, Nick Turner

To contact the reporters on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net; Brian Womack in San Francisco at bwomack1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net; Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net


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