When word broke this week that Google had hired veteran music industry lawyer Elizabeth Moody to help it score licensing deals with the music industry, it helped make the rumors that Google is considering a cloud-based music service just that much more believable. Billboard talked to Moody as she wrapped up her last week at Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes and prepared to move from New York to San Francisco for her new role. Here, Moody discusses where she’s going, what she’s doing, and how label negotiations have evolved in the last few years.

What can you tell us about this Google gig?
There’s not much I’m able to say right now. There’s a lot more details that I have to learn about still myself. Obviously I’m going over there to focus on their digital music initiatives on the legal side.

Why leave private practice, where you worked with a number of different clients, to focus on just one company?
It’s really about Google. It’s about wanting to work for Google and be a part of what they’re doing. They’re always on the cutting edge, it’s exciting. It seems that it’s the best of what I do. It was such a great opportunity I couldn’t pass it up. I wasn’t looking to leave. It just kind of came up and as I looked into it I got more and more interested.

Since you’ve been at Davis Shapiro, what are some of the clients you’ve worked with and services you’ve helped bring to market?
Fred [Davis] and I probably really had the bulk of them in the industry. The biggest we put together was the MySpace Music joint venture. We worked with Snocap and Kazaa, moved on to BitTorrent and imeem, Project Playlist and obviously creating the Vevo venture. More recently MOG and Rdio. And Beyond Oblivion. The bulk has really been on the startup side. It’s been pretty rewarding being able to start from the beginning with these companies, help them structure their business, advise them and help them learn about what they’re getting into.

How would you say digital music licensing deals have evolved in that time?
It really has in just the last four years. When I started there was a focus on the first generation of services like the Napsters and Rhapsodys, which were moderately successful. The next phase was the ad-supported services like MySpace and imeem and Playlist that were trying to make a business out of it but were struggling to monetize. So I think the focus now is on how we can find a way to monetize the content without making it too expensive for consumers. At this point, consumers are not showing that they have any interest in paying for music, or at least not paying very much. Where it’s been going recently, it’s subscription models again, but it’s streaming from the cloud. The technology has advanced where we can do that now, and the price points have come down. The PC product is $5 and mobile is $10, so hopefully it’ll be more appealing to consumers.

Other than price, what are the barriers?
It’s the same. There’s always a challenge between technology and copyright. Fundamentally, it’s all about monetizing and finding a way to monetize the content while still making it appealing to consumers and to the service. The labels have certain ideas based on deals they’ve done in the past about how much they feel their content is worth. When people say they’re far apart, it’s often challenging for services to make a business out of it because the cost of content is so high and the consumers don’t want to pay that much for it. So services like Google and everyone else out there have to be very creative about finding ways to make it appealing to consumers.

Isn’t the whole free trial portion an area that has vastly different perspectives among the labels?
That’s totally true. It’s a moving target that changes every month, on both sides. There’s a lot of experimenting going on. Everybody is doing subscription services now. That’s the flavor of 2010. But there are a lot of experimenting on how long is the free trail. How long can you play around with the service before you have to enter in a credit card? It’s been pretty well accepted, in the U.S. anyway, that there aren’t going to be totally free ad-supported services anymore. On the other hand, the labels are more open to experimenting on the free trial and find a way to get consumers hooked. There’s a lot less of this “I’ll take a big check from the VCs and hope that everything works out.” I’m an optimist, so I’ll be positive for a minute. I think both sides are sitting down and modeling the business plans out and trying to figure out how it can work, as opposed to just looking at the next six months. There’s more long–term thinking it seems.

So of all the things you’re leaving behind, what will you miss?
From the business standpoint, I think I’ll be back here all the time, because this is where the labels are. But I’ve lived here for 15 years. I’m an east coaster, so I’m going to miss everything probably. But at the same time it’s cool. I don’t want to live in one place my entire life.