Google offers music search service in China


Google has launched a free music search service in China in partnership with a website backed by investors who include basketball star Yao Ming.

The service, launched on a trial basis, allows Chinese Internet users to sample or download licensed music -- for free -- from the database of Beijing-based music website , Google said in a statement.

Chinese Internet users can search for music by the name of the singer, song or album using Google's Chinese website, Google said. The service, which began Tuesday, is not available for users outside China.

The service will provide access to tens of thousands of Chinese songs in, which was co-founded by Yao Ming in 2006 and attracted Google as an investor in 2007, the US company said.

Google, record labels and will share advertising revenue, it said. Google did not give financial details or say what music companies were part of the revenue-sharing agreement.
However, it said the service was a new business model in China that would allow international record labels, which have been plagued by rampant online piracy in the country, to make money from their recordings.

"It provides a sustainable solution for legal downloads of licensed music," Google said.
More than 99 percent of all music files in China are illegal, costing record companies billions of dollars in lost revenue annually, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, a music industry trade body.

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