Google Introduces Music Service In ChinaBy: Mike Sachoff - March 30, 2009
Google has partnered with the major record labels to launch a free online music service in China that is ad supported.
Initially the service will offer 350,000 songs from Warner Music, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment and 14 independent labels. The number of songs will increase to 1.1 million in the coming months, said Gary Chen, chief executive of Google’s partner www.Top100.cn.
Lee Kai-Fu, president of Google in greater China told reporters that music downloads were "the key missing piece" for Google’s service in China and the absence of music search has been "the most common reason" that Chinese user give for using another search engine.
"This is the first serious attempt to start (monetizing) the online market in China. I can’t overestimate how important this is," said Lachie Rutherford, president of Warner Music Asia Pacific and Asia chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
According to the IFPI, more than 99 percent of all music files distributed in China last year were pirated. Warner’s Rutherford says the new service will attract users away from illegal download sites because the music will be higher quality.
Google also hope the move will help it gain on rival Baidu which has 62.2 percent of the search market in China, compared to Google’s 27.8 percent.