Baidu testing new free download service

By | Published on Thursday 5 May 2011


Chinese search engine Baidu has started testing a new music service called Baidu Ting, following an announcement in early April that it would launch a legit music offer this month.

Baidu, of course, has long been an enemy of the music industry because of its MP3 search service which made it very easy for Chinese web users to find illegal sources of music (some of which, it has been claimed, could only actually be accessed via the search engine). However in recent months – possibly as a result of Chinese authorities ramping up their copyright protection efforts – Baidu has been courting the Music Copyright Society Of China and the Chinese outposts of the major record companies to try and reach a deal on a licensed download service.

According to the Financial Times, the new service will be ad-funded and offer free downloads. Presumably the royalties paid to rights owners will be tiny, though any new income from a country where piracy has always been rampant, even pre-internet, will be welcomed by the global music industry. And given the size of the Chinese market and Baidu’s dominance there, some might even be hopeful the new service could become a good earner.