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Google to Offer Free Music Downloads in China

By William Koch

Google recently teamed up with an online Chinese music company,, to start providing free licensed music to its Chinese audience.

Google China

Google has struggled in the Chinese market for a while now, competing heavily with China’s top search engine, Google may be a huge Internet power in the West right now, but in places like China they still aren’t at the top, even after 3 years of being online in China.

Baidu offers free music to its users; however, the music is not licensed. In other words, it is illegal. Google’s new venture will provide licensed music to its customers for free, not relying on ads, but on other premium services such as ringtones and special concert listings. According to, the mp3’s downloaded will have an embedded watermark, so the record companies can track the files. This seems like a brilliant idea, but with illegal mp3’s available just as easily as legit ones, the Chinese audience must actually take notice and use Google’s services for the idea to work.

The venture could be online within a couple of weeks, if there aren’t any major obstacles. This is a relatively new idea, but if it succeeds in China, it could have the potential to influence the way we listen to music around the world.

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