With the launch of the new Google Music Store fast approaching, it looks like Google is close to inking another record label deal to populate the new service.
According to a Bloomberg report, Google is very close to an agreement with Universal Music Group that would allow Google to sell their artists' music in their new download store. When the Google Music Store was hinted at back in October, the sources said that 4th-largest record label EMI had already signed on. That secured artists like Coldplay, Pink Floyd, Katy Perry and (most of) Radiohead for the Google Music Store.
Making a deal with Universal would be a much bigger content grab than EMI - since they are the largest record label in the American music industry. Coming along with Universal would be artists like Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift.
The report says that the Google/Universal deal could be finalized as early as Wednesday, November 16th. That date coincides with a Google event in Los Angeles where it's highly speculated that Google will unveil the new Music Store. Invitations to the event were sent out last Friday on 11/11/11 by "Nigel Tufnel." The invitations simply said "These Go To Eleven."
The Google Music Store will work hand in hand with Google Music Beta, allowing for purchased songs to be stored in the cloud and accessed from any enabled device. There have been rumors that the Music Store will be integrated into Google+, allowing users to share songs with friends and preview tracks before purchasing - rumors that this Bloomberg report corroborates.
Google Music Beta launched as a simple cloud storage service without any sort of music downloading functionality due to the inability of Google and the record labels to work out deals. Since Beta's launch, the launch of a Music Store seemed inevitable, but the specific "when" and "with what music" questions are finally being answered.
Apparently, Google is still unable to work things out with Sony and Warner Music Group, the second and third largest labels.
Last week, deals were reached to break EMI Group in two, and those separate parts be sold to Universal and Sony. According to the WSJ, EMI's record-music unit will go to Universal and its Music Publishing will so to Sony.
Hopefully we get more details at the Google event tomorrow. If you're impatient, however, you can check out these supposed leaked images of the Music Store via the Android Market.