updated 09:00 am EDT, Wed May 6, 2009
Baidu to work with labels
The most popular search engine in China, Baidu, is mulling sharing its ad revenue from the music search service it offers or otherwise compensating record labels. This comes after competitor Google began offering a licensed music download search earlier this year in the market. For years, Baidu drew flak for copyright infringement and linking websites that offer downloads of pirated songs, but the practice did attract a record number of users.
A Baidu representative said on Wednesday the company is working with multiple though unnamed labels on finding a "mutually beneficial and sustainable" model for its music search. No details on the type of relationship have been given.
China Market Research Group found Baidu's music service accounts for 20 to 30 percent of all searches on Baidu. Google's music search service was launched to draw the record number of young users away from Baidu, and the findings reveal Baidu was home to about 75 percent of all web searchers, while Google had about 20 percent of the market last year.
Google offered a much more limited music selection compared to Baidu's search, but Google split its revenue from the ad-supported service with a Chinese music site and record labels who own rights to these songs.
The income and traffic generated by Baidu's music search service has been falling during the last few years, company CEO Robin Lin admitted last week. Google could be partially to blame for this trend, especially in the last year, as it hired more staff and began offering localized services. [via Yahoo]