updated 04:10 am EDT, Sat April 2, 2011
Baidu to use ad revenue to compensate musos
China search engine provider Baidu has made has signed a deal that with the music industry after years of tension over the way its site handles music searches. Baidu's music search service delivers results for illegal music downloads as well as allows users to stream music through its website. According to the Wall Street Journal [sub. req.], it has now agreed to pay songwriters who belong to the Music Copyright Society of China when users download or stream their songs using Baidu's search engine.
It is believed that this is the first step towards addressing concerns echoed by international music providers. It is hoped that the company will consider putting in place a similar system to compensate international artists whose music is being illegally downloaded and streamed courtesy of the way the site displays its search results.
Baidu plans to offer licensed versions of songs for free downloads in a discrete section of its website. The site will use its advertising revenue to help pay for the downloads, although Baidu has not disclosed how much artists will receive per download.
The Chinese company, which commands a 75.5 percent share of the revenue created through Internet searches in China has attracted the wrath of RIAA which has called Baidu "undoubtedly one of the largest distributors of infringing music in the world."
By comparison Google, which has 19.6 percent share of the Chinese market has a deal in place with a Chinese music company Orca Digital to offer an ad-supported music download and streaming service for Chinese users.