The interesting thing is that Google, like Amazon (who recently launched their Amazon Cloud Player), went ahead with their soft launch without the permission of the major record labels. One of the reasons why Google might feel comfortable in doing so is that Music Beta doesn't include any sort of download store or streaming service that generates money, unlike what you'll likely to see from Apple soon. I'd say that the whole idea of the the record labels looking to be paid a second time for a purchase lockered in a cloud service like Music Beta can probably be put to rest now. Obviously both Google and Amazon feel legally comfortable with their position or they wouldn't have gone ahead with their services as they have.
Personally I don't see what the big deal is in terms of getting label permission to store songs. The only thing beyond cloud storage that a locker service offers at this point is a custom music player, although the labels feel that the ability to stream music that you've purchased on any device that you own to be somehow worth an additional payment. Good luck on that guys. It looks like that game is over.
One thing that's worth thinking about though - you still have to upload all of your music to whatever locker service you go with (meaning Google or Amazon, presumably not so with Apple's when it's launched), which can be a huge pain. Music Beta reportedly attempts to ease the pain by automatically determining what songs you listen to most and uploading them to the service first. The thing that label permission does is alleviate the need to upload, since the service will just look to see what songs you have on your drive, and allocate them for use in the cloud.
To sign up for a Music Beta invite, click here, then click on "Request an Invitation" in the upper right corner. Here's a video that explains the service.
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