Is Google Positioning Itself To Buy Spotify?

25 February 2016 | 5:07 pm | Staff Writer

The streaming music service is moving its data to the Google cloud, and the rumour mill has sprung to life

Speculation that online behemoth Google is looking to get itself a piece of that sweet, sweet Spotify pie is bubbling in the wake of the news that the music streaming service has begun shifting its data to the Google Cloud platform.

Ostensibly, as Android Police notes, the move is an entirely innocuous one, to save money and effort on Spotify's part by outsourcing a chunk of its system administration workload to another company. From Google's standpoint, hosting Spotify's data is, a huge boon for its nascent Cloud service, which is, according to The Wall Street Journal, considered a third-string option compared with its competitors, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft's Azure.

Google ultimately won out over AWS and Azure due to its analytics capabilities, an area in which Spotify apparently felt Google was peerless.

"That's where Google has the edge and that's where we think they will continue to have the edge," Spotify VP of engineering and infrastructure Nicholas Harteau told the WSJ.

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In a statement, the company echoed that sentiment, saying, "Good infrastructure isn’t just about keeping things up and running, it’s about making all of our teams more efficient and more effective, and Google’s data stack does that for us in spades."

As The Verge reportshowever, there might be more to the motivations for the deal than just heightened convenience; respected web/tech writer Om Malik suggested that Spotify's data shift may represent the first step towards Google ultimately acquiring the Swedish company - after "negotiat[ing] hard on price" - to strengthen its reach into the booming streaming market.

It wouldn't be an entirely unprecedented situation for the companies to find themselves in; as The Verge notes, Google and Spotify were reportedly in ultimately fruitless talks in 2014 that eventually broke down over price negotiations (well, at least they learnt one lesson).

However, as the WSJ makes clear, any process of an acquisitional nature is probably still a long shot, as although Spotify will "move its core computing infrastructure, where it stores, maintains and analyzes the troves of data it collects, from its own facilities to Google's", it "plans to continue to store its music files on Amazon Simple Storage Service ... [and] continue to distribute music to its far-flung customers via several content-delivery services, including Amazon CloudFront".

Either way — whether eventual buyer or not — Google will almost certainly be a large part of Spotify's future from here out.

"We have a large and complex backend, so this is a large and complex project that will take us some time to complete," Spotify's statement read. "We're looking forward to sharing our experiences with you as we go … We're pretty excited about our Googley future and hope you'll find it interesting too."