Google Provides Free Music Search in China
Google has launched an ad-based MP3 download service in China to combat easily accessible illegal downloads that have destroyed the online music industry.
Goggle’s venture has the backing of 14 independent labels, and will compete with similar MP3 services, particularly with Baidu, a directory to music files whose results are heavily skewed in favor if unlicensed music.
In China, Google’s search engine is not as popular as Baidu – In China, Baidu controls 62-77 percent of the market, while Google controls a modest 17-28 percent of the market.
Google partnered with Top100.cn to secure license for more than 1.1 million songs from various record labels, including Warner, Sony, BGM, Universal, and EMI. The companies share advertising revenue with record labels. However, no financial details were disclosed.
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said that over 99 percent of all music downloads in China are illegal. Additionally, IFPI states that approximately half of online music piracy is done by deep-linking music sites, compared to Europe and North America where P2P is the preferred platform for pirates.
Google’s music download service will not be offered outside of China.
In 2005, Warner, Universal, Sony and EMI sued Baidu for alleged copyright violations and lost when the court ruled that although the company provides links to music files, there isn’t any infringement by Baidu itself.
Another lawsuit was filed in 2008 by the IFPI on behalf of the music labels, claiming that Baidu provides “music listening, broadcasting and downloading services in various forms on its website without approval, and through unfettered privacy, earning huge advertising revenue on its huge numbers of hits.”