With Google's flurry of announcements on Monday, the tech giant solidified itself as one of the true contenders for entertainment. Zahara Levine (pictured above) and the rest of the Google team have been busy securing important licensing deals for distribution on all of Google's platforms. Music, movies, magazines, and practically every other media you can think of has been finding its way to Google products in ever-increasing numbers.
Twentieth Century Fox is the most recent movie studio to come around to play in Google's sandbox, which now means Google Play can rent and sell movies from all of the big Hollywood studios. This announcement comes along with a recent deal with Time Inc. for magazine distribution rights for titles like People, InStyle, and Time.
And on the music front, we certainly can't forget Warner Music. Despite the rocky history between the two companies after some previous rights scuffles over YouTube, the two have been able to make amends, plugging a major gap in the Google Play offerings.
In the same way that Google's movie offerings are complete with every major studio, Google's music can now say the same thing. Customers have begun to expect this sort of convenience, as is evidenced by the popularity of Amazon and Apple's media offerings. In fact, any media company that can't thread these licensing arrangements will find itself in a tough position. (Netflix has precariously balanced this arrangement to greater and lesser success over the past few years.)
Why Does Everyone Like Google Now?
Let's be real here. The entertainment industry isn't suddenly working with Google out of the goodness of their hearts. Google had to earn their trust and show that they possessed a powerful enough market to be worth the trouble.
As far as the trust issue is concerned, YouTube has cracked down on unlicensed uses of media in a big way recently. You'll still find videos with soundtracks of popular artists, but you certainly won't find many copies of music videos that stay online for long.
Similarly, with Google's search engine - Google's real claim to fame and power - the company has chosen to penalize sites that received too many copyright takedown notices.
As far as proving that Google has a sizable enough audience, a quick look at Android sales numbers will show why Google has the entertainment industry's attention. Nearly half a billion Android-equipped phones have already been activated, with a new 1.3 million Android phones activated every day.
That's a worldwide audience that any movie studio or music studio would be foolish to overlook.
Google doesn't have a perfect record with the entertainment industry yet, but the company is trying. It already pulled Grooveshark's music app from Google Play, presumably for copyright / licensing issues. And, the company has certainly come a long way from the early days of YouTube, when unauthorized clips ran abundantly.