Google Launches Free Music Search In China

Dennis Faas's picture

Chinese Internet use is notoriously restricted, which may explain why Google -- a North American cultural icon -- is not the major search engine used by the nation's Internet-connected public. Instead, Baidu is to the Chinese what Google is to the rest of the world.

Within China, Google has only 26 percent of the search market share, while Baidu holds 63 percent. (Source:

Google may be edging in through the launch of a free music search program. How? Baidu is the main gateway for Internet music piracy in China, where less than 1 percent of music downloads are legal. Google's new scheme is in partnership with (which receives financial backing from NBA star Yao Ming), a music website. Google will allow users to search for songs by artist and title, but they will have to download the music through the site.

The most important bit: the music Google and distribute will be free. Record labels will get their dividends from advertising on Top100's pages.

"The Internet industry should by no means stand in the opposite camp against the music industry," Google China President Kai-fu Lee said in a statement, Reuters reported. "Google always believes profoundly that mutual interest, rather than monopoly, is the key to sustainable growth."

Baidu is currently being sued by the Musi Copyright Society of China and the IFPI, with current damages estimated at $9 million U.S, although it is speculated that it could end up being much more. (Source:

Ultimately, the problem of piracy won't be solved by the idea, but it's a start for a nation that needs any help it can get in fighting such an overwhelming issue.

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