According to the IFPI, an organization representing the recording industry worldwide, 99 percent of music downloads in China are illegal. In such an unfriendly environment, how can record labels survive?
Google’s answer to the question is its new Music Search feature. Chinese users of Google Music Search can download free tracks and preview music from the partner, Top100.cn, while Google profits from ads on search results. According to The New York Times, “About 84 percent of China’s nearly 300 million Internet users download music over the Web, and most of it is used for cellphone ring tones.”
Google believes that Music Search will help it compete with Baidu, a dominant search engine in China that earns the majority of its traffic from music searching. However, most music files downloaded through Baidu have been illegal. From Google’s music search engine, users can get authorized, high-quality files from record labels such as EMI, SonyBMG, Universal and Warner Music.
Record labels seem confident about the new deals with Google. Sandy Monteiro, a senior vice president at the Universal Music Group, said “The level of online advertising in China is quite mature, so we’re willing to try this out.”
Google Music Search with free downloads is only available in China. It was launched seven months ago, and The Wall Street Journal reports that five advertisers have committed $370,000 to the music service. But these numbers are still far from Google’s goal: 30 advertisers, some of them paying $1,000,000 within six months. However, there is potential for growth. Five million songs have been downloaded per day through Google’s music service in China. This number shows that the service is popular with Chinese users.
Baidu has reacted by announcing a partnership with Qtrax, an ad-supported music-downloading service. Now Google won’t be the only provider in China of free, legal online music, and the competition has intensified.
According to TechCrunch, MySpace may move to a pay model; its revenue from advertising does not currently offset its costs of streaming music for free. It’s still hard to tell if an ad-supported music service could profit. However, the proliferation of online music downloads in China has led to a new business model for music distribution.
Imagine resource: http://www.google-kai.com/free-google-music-mp3-search-in-china.html