There are two stages to this.
One involves placing the turd on the blade; the other involves turning the fan on.
It now looks like stage two is just beginning. “It’s really disrespectful, and of course we are considering all of our options,” Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier told the Wall Street Journal today, referring to the unceremonious launch of Amazon’s Cloud Drive. In fact, it now appears that Amazon gave absolutely no notice to publishers, and only a small courtesy call to major labels (if that).
The rest is mired in confusion. Outwardly, Amazon has said that it doesn’t need licenses to cloud-enable user collections. But since the beginning, Amazon has also been courting deals with the majors, perhaps part of a well-worn strategy of seeking apologies, not permission.
This all comes at a seriously bad time for the majors (and by association, certain publishers). Both Warner Music Group and EMI Music are seriously distressed properties, and both are aggressively getting shopped. And, according to sources to Digital Music News, a number of executives and staffers at these labels have effectively checked out.
That leaves Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group as the more healthy half, though a protracted legal battle sounds expensive – and seriously costly if Amazon prevails. Apple and Google will be watching. Stay tuned.