Google launches music search service in China


June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 30, 2009 at 1:32 PM EDT

Google on Monday formally launched a music search service in China that offers free downloads of licenced songs and is supported by advertising.

Through a partnership with Chinese website Top100.cn, the US firm has secured the licence for more than 1.1 million songs from record labels including Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI, Google said in a statement.

"Ensuring that consumers have access to legal sources of music is the foundation for our development of Google Music Search," said Kai-Fu Lee, president of Google China.

No financial details were disclosed.

The service, which is available only in China, will rival Chinese search engine Baidu, which also has a music download service.

When launching a trial period for the service in August, Google said it would share advertising revenue with the record labels and Top100.cn, a music website backed by investors that include Chinese basketball star Yao Ming.

According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, up to 99 percent of all music downloads in China were illegal, costing record companies billions of dollars in lost revenue annually.

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