Google seems to be getting serious about its much-rumored music service, hiring music licensing attorney Elizabeth Moody to spearhead label negotiations, Billboard has confirmed.

To date, nothing Google has done required music industry licensing. Bringing on an experienced negotiator for digital music services would represent the biggest step yet to that end.

Moody formerly worked at the well-known firm Davis Shapiro Lewit & Hayes, which has represented a number of digital music services in their label negotiations, including MySpace Music. She will remain at the firm through the end of the week and is starting at Google in August.

It’s not yet clear whether Moody has been hired to represent in-house, or if Google simply retained her services as a client. Exactly what Google may or may not have planned for a music service has been the topic of much discussion, mostly rumors, so far this year. Ever since Apple acquired Lala for its still-rumored cloud-based relaunch of iTunes, there’s been rumblings that Google also has a cloud service underway.

The most recent movement on this front was during a Google developer conference in May, where the company announced the acquisition of Simplfy Media for the purpose of automatically syncing music purchased online with mobile phones based on the Android operating system. And last year, Google worked with Lala and MySpace Music on the ability to stream full songs from search results.

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