Google announced today that it will “update” its “search algorithms” to “help users find legitimate, quality sources of content more easily—whether it’s a song previewed on NPR’s music website, a TV show on Hulu, or new music streamed from Spotify.” It is a move long advocated by the music industry, and given the dominance of Google in the search market and the documented importance of sites appearing on the first page of search results, it is potentially a significant development. Below is a comment from RIAA Chairman and CEO Cary Sherman.
“Today Google has announced a potentially significant change in its search rankings that can make a meaningful difference to creators: sites that are the subject of large numbers of copyright removal notices may be ranked lower in search results than before. This should result in improved rankings for the licensed music services that pay artists and deliver fans the music they love. This change is an important step in the right direction – a step we’ve been urging Google to take for a long time – and we commend the company for its action.
“As Google itself has acknowledged, this is not the only approach, and of course, the details of implementation will matter. Moreover, there are many more actions that we hope Google will take. But by taking this common-sense step and treating copyright in a way that’s consistent with the search firm’s approach to other forms of activity on the Internet, Google has signaled a new willingness to value the rights of creators. That is good news indeed. And the online marketplace for the hundreds of licensed digital services embraced by the music business is better today than it was yesterday.”