Shanghai: Can global music companies make money by giving away songs in China, where piracy is rampant?
They certainly hope so. On 30 March, the world's biggest record labels, including EMI, the Warner Music Group and Vivendi's Universal Music, said they would seek to profit here by working with Google Inc. and offering free downloads of music to anyone inside China.
Google, which has no plans to offer the service elsewhere, hopes to build traffic and win new advertisers by allowing the Chinese to search for free music on its site.
Record labels say that instead of earning money from each download, they will share ad revenue with Google's partner in the deal, a Chinese company called Top100.cn.
The partnership could help decide the future of how valuable content is distributed in China, which has overtaken the US as the world’s biggest Internet market.
“The level of online advertising in China is quite mature, so we're willing to try this out.” said Sandy Monteiro, a senior vice president at the Universal Music Group.
©2009/THE NEW YORK TIMES