Google Offers (Falun Gong) Free Music Search in China
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 99 percent of all digital music distributed via the Internet in China is pirated. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be monetized, as Google hopes to prove. Today the company launched a new music search service that allows Internet users in China to legally download music–for free. Developed in partnership with Chinese music company Top100.cn, the service will be supported by advertising revenue, to be split between the two companies and participating music labels. If successful, the new service will be a boon to the recording industry, which has been frustrated to the point of aneurism by China’s piracy issues.
Obviously, it will be a boon to Google (GOOG) as well. The company’s arch rival in China, Baidu.com has long dominated the country’s search market, thanks in large part to the access it offers to free, unlicensed music downloads–access with which the global recording industry has repeatedly taken issue. Today, Baidu controls about 65 percent of China’s Internet search market. Google controls just 26 percent. But that might change very quickly if Google’s free, legal, music industry-supported service wins over users.