The S&F law blog

Google Offers Free Music Downloads in China
April 9, 2009, 3:45 am
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Google recently unveiled a free music download service in China

US search engine Google Inc recentyly launched a legal music search service in China that allows users to download licensed songs for free. The service is part of a strategy to better compete with the Baidu Inc search engine.

The new service, offers free downloads of approximately 1.1 million songs from both foreign and Chinese artists.

Google’s new service has drawn support from most of the major music labels including Sony Music, Warner Music, EMI and Universal Music. These labels will share revenue generated by online advertisements posted on the download page. The service will be limited to users in China.

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said last year that more than 99 percent of all music files distributed in China are pirated, and the country’s total legitimate music market accounts for less than 1 percent of global recorded music sales. This situation has made music industry labels more amenable to allowing free downloads of their music in order to gain an amount of revenue and make music pirates obsolete.

“We don’t fear that our cooperation with Google will impact our traditional music sales because our business has already been impacted (by online music piracy in China),” said Caroline Chow, vice-president of EMI Music in Southeast Asia.

Google’s market share in China rose to 27.8 percent last year from 23.4 percent in 2007, domestic research firm Analysys International said.

Source: China Daily


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