Live Blogging From The Google Discover Music Launch Event

The expected Google Music Search is real, and our Google Music Search 2.0 Launches With Musical “OneBox” story provides the play-by-play of how it works. Be sure to read that! From me, the color commentary out of today’s launch event at Capitol Records in Hollywood. I’ll be live blogging the news.

We’re expecting some musical stars, including guests from OneRepublic, Dead By Sunrise, Linkin Park and Mos Def. I’ll do my best to keep up, given my lack of popular musical culture makes me the butt of jokes to those who know me well. Have mercy, OK?

And it’s 4:04pm, with loud music playing, and a stranger intermix of tech folks and music folks. And nothing happening. So just stay patient. It’s “The Joker” playing, by the way. You know, midnight toker?

OK, a little video and Syd Schwartz, senior vice president of EMI takes the stage. Talking abou the history here in the Capitol tower some of the big artists. Me, I’m just afraid we’ll all die. Because it’s the only landmark building in LA and it always gets blown up in disaster movies.

Now Marissa Mayer from Google. “It’s clear to us that for our users, music holds a special and deal place.” Or a quote very similar to that.

Google mission to organize info. But quickly realized they needed more than web pages to do this. So image search in 2001. Book search in 2003. In 2005, Google Maps to search the physical world. 2007, Universal Search blended this all together.

How’s music fit in. Top 10 searches involve lyrics and musics. Hey, there’s a Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore movie called Music & Lyrics. It’s awesome.

Marissa’s routine is to listen in the car, memorize a snippet of a song, then going back and searching for it. But that’s not easy. So, “why can’t Google make music more intuitive and easy to find online?” So excited about the new service today (HEY, READ OUR ARTICLE UP THERE IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH FOR MORE ON THAT). Only service that lets you play an entire song. And Gracenote allows them to do full lyric search [don't ask about all those sites listing lyrics illegally in some cases in Google's regular results].

Now RJ Pittman to demo. Music in his blood, mother is a music teacher. One of his favorite bands is OneRepublic. But is it one word? Ryan from the band he jokes tells him that’s right. But excited you can do two words and find it that way. Now showing how you can get music one click away. Hey, OneRepublic is pretty good. I should download them. From Amazon, cause I like how they’re easy and DRM free. Wait, I mean from one of the Google partners that are involved with it. Don’t worry, see our article, Google doesn’t earn off that itself.

Searches for a lyric from a Police song. No, not that one. You were thinking Roxanne. Not that one. Long lyric, finds a OneBox, plays music. People applaud.

“If you ever wondered what a search result sounded like on Google, this is it,” he says, as he plays Dead By Sunrise.

Marissa’s back up and talking about MySpace and LaLa for live music streaming, music vendors imeem, Pandora & Rhapsody. And Gracenote for Lyrics.

Now Ali Partove SVP of BizDev for MySpace and Courtney Holt president of MySpace Music. Talking how they’ll be able to better get news out about tours. How the social graph can be useful to the music experience. Music has helped MySpace grow and this will help even more.

“Music on Google Search. How F-ing cool is that,” says Holt. Except he didn’t have that dash in there :) Hey, we’re at a rockish event gang.

Now Holt showing popup you get when you click on Google music results, allows you to by the MP3, watch the official video or get concert info. If you clickthru, you get to a dedicated music page at MySpace for the artist. Now he’s giving props to the Google team for building. “In my 7 years in digital music, coming up for an arrangement…” where consumer, artist, rightsholders and many others win is hard, but says Google’s done it. “the main beneficiary is the consumer” getting a better music experience.

Now Bill Nguyen, chairman and founder of LaLa. Or lala, I guess. “We all begin music discovery at the same place, Google Search.” Well no, but OK. And now he’s showing three bands that haven’t gotten discovered more. First is Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Sharpe. They sound nice. I’ll download them.

Shows how on lala, you can go to their page and see who has discovered them as a fan, see other music that person likes, you can follow folks like Twitter. It’s Twitter for music lovers.

All built on the web because he hates MP3, doesn’t like to organize them. Me, I love them. I want to own my music hardcopy, I guess. But he shows how you can buy the music on their service, what you already own. I assume you can download. I assume you can then put on your MP3 player. Right?

Showing how you can preview a song and buy it if you like it. I kind of do this on Amazon already. But I think you can listen to the entire thing. So that’s cool. Now showing what looks like an iTunes to organize your music. But not probably as sucky as iTunes. And from lala, on the web.

RJ’s back. Goal was to keep the product simple. Marissa taught him sometimes greatest challenge is restraint in features. Make it so if you know a few words, boom, you can get that music in a click. [Hey, what about being able to sing it. Kind of like Shazaam. But there are other services out there like that, too. Let's have that, too!]

When you’re over 25, you stop listening to new music he’s heard. Yeah. [But then when you're past 40, you start feeling like you'd better listen again or you'll be really out of it. Just saying.] But he’s excited this will let people discover more. [Except, I've gotta say, there's not a lot of discovery here. It's all search. It works because you KNOW an artist or KNOW a lyric you heard. It's not suggesting new stuff you don't know].

Now a roundtable. We have Mos Def, joining Wendy Nussbaum of Universal Music Group, Steve Savoca of Domino Recording, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic and Syd Schwartz from EMI.

Asks Mike about how things have changed over time. Mike talks about how Linkin Park had a different name, found the name Lincoln Park but couldn’t get that domain. “We thought, this could be an important thing to have a of our name.” So we literally changed the name of the band to get the URL that would give us the most direct link to our fans. [and yes, I know he also said this yesterday at the 140 Twitter conference. He mentioned to everyone here he told the story there, too].

RJ asks if they thought about getting non-US domain names for the band, like in France. Mike says thought about that.

Wendy now talking about how this will lead people to legitimate sources of music [and I hear Apple thinking now ugh, maybe you know holding all our legit music behind that absurd you've gotta have iTunes to find it AppleWall is something we ought to take down].

RJ asks about the idea of seeing what people share, he’d love to see what Mos is listening to, as Linkin Park and OneRepublic. Wendy says basically sure, always thinking about new ways.

Syd now talking about how he wanted to build out his jazz collection, going to Tower Records and seeing Donald Fagan of Steely Dan. Followed him around as he’s a jazz expert. “So trying to not look stalkerish,” he followed him for 1 1/2 hours. “I discoverd some great stuff .. but I look at what’s been presented here today and think wow, I could have saved myself a restraining order.”

Mos asked about what gets him excited in terms of the web and technology with what he does.

Says sure, for all artists, the internet and Google and YouTube and things like that have been incredible important. And now a billion cameras going off with high speed shutters. Thought we were all digital these days.

“Me, to be perfectly honest, I’m a child of hte 70s, so I walk around every day thinking I’m in Buck Rodgers or Battlestar Galactica … I’m still really getting over the cell phone.”

See now similar to early 20th century with new tech, a wide open field. … “I’m still getting over email. Wow, it’s incredible.” Excited at opp for independents and how quickly they can turn music around.

Steve says excited to have independent have a seat at the table. “This means a lot to us. What we do is niche.” Digital is 50% of their business and primarily get people through word of mouth. “This is a zero friction music experience.” Hear about an artist, hear the artist. With things like lala and OneBox, feel new opportunities to get their music out

“We’ve got to change consumption behavior.” Need environment where people can access these things. When we can expose people to these great services we can change behavior and that the legitimate side of things is where to be.

Ryan talking about how he feels MySpace is what made their breakthrough. He got dropped same day as Katy Perry and Jonas Brothers from the same label. Audience goes wow, because even I know they’re all hot. Thought if he had to make poster and put them up, “I’m screwed.” Found MySpace thought it was perfect, free. Would search for everyone 18-22 on MySpace and emailed them when in town to get them out to concerts. “Were it not for MySpace … that would not happen if it weren’t for technology as it is [people coming out].” For Google, when type in a song until today are bittorrent illegal download sites. [which is kind of bad for Google, because if that's true, well, they're still listing all that stuff]. He’s excited that it literally focuses stuff.

OneRepublic has new album coming. Any new plans in the digital space? Yes, might do something with Twitter. “I don’t know what artists did 20 years ago .. did you rent out the Rainbow Room and throw a kegger.” I’m loving Ryan now, because he’s so totally using this entire new medium. “I kind of have two jobs, writing and producing .. I need things that won’t take up the whole day.” “It’s a blessing and a curse, because we have to be in 20 countries at once.”

Mike from Linkin Park says you’ll be able to see how they make their next album online.

And now we’re going to do Q&A.

How will this change industry in future? Courtney says Google has lots of queries but hasn’t been leading people to a legit experience. This gives consumer more uniformity. It actually gives the rightsholder more control, a way to make money.

Mike from Linkin Park, “I want as few steps as possible between me and that think I’m looking for, the band … I want to be able to find them amidst the noise.” This is what excites him most about this.

Bill talking about how this will let people hear more diverse music. “They’re going to do for music what they did for the web.”

What about outside the US and streaming. RJ says right, only US right now. Focus is to go heads down and tackle this market.

I asked Ryan and Courtney about how they’ve both mentioned there being illegit content on Google, and how that’s not going away, so what do the think Google should do. Or is being at the top of the list enough?


“I’m not entirely sure that it’s Google’s problem … I think it’s a huge step foward … first major company outside of a record label that filters through the noise … again that was the first thing that caught my attention. This is the first internet anything that does that … I don’t know how they did it. You’ve got people way smarter than us [says looking at Marissa and RJ of Google] … You didn’t have to do it. .. as for the fans … clicking on dead links [is bad] … now you’re playing the song two seconds after typing in a lyric.”


“The number one way for the music industry to battle piracy is to make the legitimate image options better … here what Google’s done is made … an extremely convenient experience … also the speed of it … google has had an enormous focus on making it really freakin fast … I honestly believe simply becasue it is more ocnvenient and it’s from a brand that’s more [recognized, I think, he said]” will get it used.

Question on costs. If this generates more listening, more costs? Mike for lala says “more listening is more buying.”

“They don’t want to talk about it … they’re not going to tell you” Mos says, as another question comes up about buying and selling and how the music reps haven’t wanted to get into that.

Mos also impressed that labels seem to have jumped because this is Google [idea that Google is being, versus Napster .. I'll try to find another live blog account that caught this part better]. Live blogging is hard, did I say that?

And that’s it, the announcements all done. Techmeme has massive related coverage, both live plus regular articles that will be coming. Check it out. And rock and roll, people! Heh.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Features: General | Google: Music


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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