Google China Prepares Sink Or Swim Music Partnership
Cultural dissimilarities will remain; Google isn’t likely to move its headquarters to China and replace thousands of American employees. The company may overcome one other obstacle in that market, however, as it prepares to enter a partnership with Top100.cn and make music available for free.
Baidu’s MP3 search engine is one of the things that have made Chinese users love it. Yet as major record labels have tried to demonstrate by filing a string of lawsuits, many of the MP3s are illegal, and so American companies haven’t been too quick to copy the idea.
A partnership with Top100.cn should allow Google a (mostly) legal means of offering a similar service. On that note, "maths" told Bruce Houghton, "Google does not seem willing to be facing any of the labels/ publishers directly and have opted to bypass the circus completely by using Top100.cn as their front."
Furthermore, the new deal is apparently taking place "despite [Top100.cn’s] prior public positioning . . . carrying a number of illegal songs for sales too. It is not known how much of these rights that Top100.cn has actually cleared at this moment."
So even as we watch how much of a boost Google China gets from this arrangement, it’ll be necessary to see if (or how many times) the search engine or Top100.cn gets sued. Baidu’s market share is still roughly 2.3 times larger than Google China’s, though, so the U.S.-based company may well have decided that these more aggressive tactics are worth the risk.