Free Music From Google; Does Anyone Care?


Internet behemoth


Finally a benefit to having a Chinese IP address! As you’ve almost certainly heard by now, Google launched a free music download service in China last summer, in a clear bid to challenge Baidu’s own (dubiously legal) download service and overall market dominance. Last month, this service was expanded with the addition of material from Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI; so you can now download tonnes of western music!

Unsurprisingly, Guns and Roses’ latest album Chinese Democr@cy is not up (which may be a good thing), but you are free to listen to tracks from Oasis and Bjork, they of “T”-word infamy. There’s actually a surprising amount of western music up there (from my brief and self-centered search, anyway), so why not check it out?

Interestingly, recently reported web stats put Google’s market share of search engine users in China up a mere 2.3% on the same time last year, suggesting that the impact (and use) of the free music service has been negligible, or even non-existant. It remains to be seen what impact the recent inclusion of music from the four big US labels will have.

Whatever. I’m off to download Aaron Kwok’s back catalogue for Mache.

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