The Associated Press reports that Google has entered into a broad licensing deal with an alliance of French, Italian, and Spanish licensing groups that will add 5.5 million works from various artists including Lada Gaga and Rihanna. AP says that the agreement covers 35 countries, and that royalties for publishers and artists are comprable to those held by companies like Amazon and Apple -- which, by contrast, have separate licensing agreements for individual countries. The deal also includes British and US works from Universal Music and Latin works from Sony.
Today's announcement is the latest coup for Google: in late October, the company announced that it had added Warner Music group as a content partner, receiving its entire catalog. The service launched last year with 8 million tracks from labels like EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, and others, but lacked Warner's extensive catalog. Filling out its own catalog of music has been a key test for Google, and this agreement will help the company bolster its music service internationally.