Following quickly on the heels of the YouTube Merch Store, Google and YouTube have reached a deal with Merlin to include independent recording labels on licensing deals, one more way you can get paid as an artist. Earache, Secretly Canadian, Ninja Tune, Cooking Vinyl, Warp, Phonofile, Pschent, Morr Music, !K7 and Inertia are all in on the deal, among others. It covers 14,000 artists.
Which is one more step down the road to what is the looming Google Music announcement. Merlin represents a different group of artists than the mainstream group of Universal Music, Sony Music, Warner Music and EMI. Often cited as the "fifth major label" because it represents a huge swath of musicians that exists just below the major label structure, but are just as interesting (sometimes more) and have audiences as big as artists on the bigger labels.
So it'll be interesting to see how this shapes up into the Google Music Beta. The music service was announced earlier this year, and lives at music.google.com. We're looking to recent details about the Google Music Store from the AllThingsD conference in Asia, in which Google Android guy Andy Rubin said that a Google Music service “will have a little twist – it will have a little Google in it. It won’t just be selling 99-cent tracks.” So is it a Google Music Store or a Google Music Service?
Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide. Check out more news about music apps and streaming music on the Digital Music News page.