Google yesterday launched a new online music service in China at http://music.google.cn. The service is free for users from Mainland China but is currently not accessible from any other country.
Users can search, download or stream free licensed music and choose from a pool of over 1.1 million songs. The main revenue model is based on banner advertising and expected to grow to a business with 100 million yuan ($14.6 million) in annual revenue within the next few years. Among the 140 label partners are also the big 4 major labels - Warner Music Group, Universal Music, EMI and Sony Music Entertainment. Songs are distributed through Googles chinese partner Top100.cn and revenues will be shared with the labels at approx. 50:50. Additionally the downloads are tagged with a digital watermark that will allow the labels track how often and which of their songs are downloaded.
With this latest move in the fight over search engine dominance in China, Google directly attacks the leading search engine Baidu, which has a dominant share of search revenue in China mainly due to its mp3 search which often links to unauthorized downloads.
We have put together a short presentation below to walk you through Google Chinas new mp3 service in detail: