Posted by: Dexter Roberts on March 31, 2009
With its March 30 announcement that it is moving into music search in China, Google is hoping to narrow the gap with its mainland rival Baidu.com. According to research firm Analysis International, last year Google grew its share of the China search market from 23% to 28%. That however, still puts it well behind Baidu.com with its 62% share of the market. Working with Sony Music, Warner Music, Universal Music, and EMI Group, as well as more than 140 independent labels, and a Chinese company called Top100.cn, Google says its Chinese music search will eventually cover 1.1 million songs, all available through downloads or streaming, and that they will be of high quality, free and a final key element: legal. And because China’s Internet users search for music more than for anything else, including news, Google says it’s convinced it can use its new service to capture more Chinese Internet users. That may be tough however: there is plenty of Internet music search happening on other Chinese sites already. It just isn’t being used to get music legally. Indeed, industry execs predict that pretty much all music downloaded in China to date has been done so illegally. Google and its music partners are trying to change that.