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Google Businesses The Internet

Google Launches Free, Legal Music Downloads in China 141

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the still-the-underdog-somewhere dept.
Wired is reporting that Google has a launched a new music download service in China to better compete with the leading search company there, Baidu.com. Offering some 350,000 songs, a number set to rise to somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.1 million in the coming months, the library includes both Chinese and foreign artists signed by Sony Music, EMI, and Universal Music. Proponents of the new service are also hoping it will combat illegal music downloads simply by offering higher quality songs for download. There are no immediate plans to expand this service beyond China.
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Google Launches Free, Legal Music Downloads in China

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  • by pilgrim23 (716938) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:14PM (#27390479)
    hummm that does seem a somewhat...DIFFERENT business model...
  • Proxy anyone? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:15PM (#27390505)

    Sounds like a perfect way for the US to download high quality music with nothing more than a simple proxy.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:24PM (#27390631)

      And to think, all this time, they've been trying to get outside of the firewall. Now we want in!

      • The US starts trying to use Google as a VOA (Voice of America) megaphone, then then Chinese ban ALL songs not provided with 100% faithful lyrics sheets, so as to screen out pseudo-anti-Chinese-Government songs, or songs that over-sell the greatness of the USA. Songs like "Born in the USA" will likely get binned (but, for all i know it is available for years...). I imagine Prince's (the artist formerly known as Prince, formerly known NOT as Prince, then formerly now formally known as Prince) "Erotic City" (W

        • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:59PM (#27391141) Homepage

          '"Born in the USA" will likely get binned...'

          Have you listened to the lyrics?

          Like, REALLY listened to the lyrics?

          I'm not just talking Republican National Convention playing the chorus over and over. Seriously. Born in the USA is not a shining example of feel-good patriotism. It's an ironic intervention against an America that's forgotten its defenders.

          • by DittoBox (978894) on Monday March 30, 2009 @01:22PM (#27391463) Homepage

            Bruce Springsteen's 'Born In The USA' Lyrics:

            Born down in a dead man's town
            The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
            You end up like a dog that's been beat too much
            'Til you spend half your life just covering up

            [chorus:]
            Born in the U.S.A.
            Born in the U.S.A.
            Born in the U.S.A.
            Born in the U.S.A.

            I got in a little hometown jam
            And so they put a rifle in my hands
            Sent me off to Vietnam
            To go and kill the yellow man

            [chorus]

            Come back home to the refinery
            Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me"
            I go down to see the V.A. man
            He said "Son don't you understand"

            [chorus]

            I had a buddy at Khe Sahn
            Fighting off the Viet Cong
            They're still there, he's all gone
            He had a little girl in Saigon
            I got a picture of him in her arms

            Down in the shadow of the penitentiary
            Out by the gas fires of the refinery
            I'm ten years down the road
            Nowhere to run, ain't got nowhere to go

            I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.
            Born in the U.S.A.
            I'm a cool rocking Daddy in the U.S.A.
            Born in the U.S.A.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by kabocox (199019)

              Hmm, that sounds exactly like the type of anti-US song that other nations would want their citizens to hear about the US. Any song that makes the US in general sound like a worse place to live than a third world country or about the same as that won't be on any other nations' banned list.

          • by kdemetter (965669)

            I always hear it like "Porn in the USA" .

            • by xaxa (988988)

              I always hear it like "Porn in the USA" .

              I don't know what I hear it as, as the top few results in YouTube "are not available in your country". Thanks, PRS [slashdot.org].

              Ah, Songza (music search engine) to the rescue: http://songza.com/z/n7okam [songza.com]

              Having read the lyrics I'll now think of the song in a completely different way.

          • It's an ironic intervention against an America that's forgotten its defenders.

            Yes. It's similar in vein to lots of other songs that have been misunderstood:

            • This Land is Your Land, Woodie Guthrie. The song is really a direct rebuttal of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America".
            • Little Pink Houses, John "Cougar" Mellencamp. Song about how the poor and disadvantaged. People hear the refrain: "Oh, but that ain't America, You and Me. Ain't that America, Somethin' to see, Baby, Ain't that America, home of the free, yeah..." and think Mellencamp is being patriotic. Hardly.
            • Every Breath You Tak
          • by Hatta (162192)

            It reminds me of the commercial a couple years back, where they used CCR's "Fortunate Son". The part they used said "Some folks were born, made to wave the flag. Oooh they're red white & blue." Of course, they cut the line afterwards that said "It ain't me". Talk about missing the point.

          • by Hatta (162192)

            I thought of another one. The theme song to CSI is "Won't get fooled again" by the Who. This is a song about anti-authoritarianism. I can hardly think of a more authoritarian show than CSI.

            • by jackbird (721605)
              How about when they used Janis Joplin's "Mercedes Benz" in a Mercedes commercial? And then there's the unmitigated wierdness of Chevrolet using the chorus of "American Pie" in an ad, which according to Don MacLean they had been trying to license for decades.
      • Wait, what about Asymmetrical Torrents?

        They download music, they upload forbidden news blogs?

    • by Locke2005 (849178)
      I think you need a little bit more than a simple proxy -- like the ability to read and write Chinese, for example. What are the Chinese characters for "Britney Spears" anyway?
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Surprisingly, it sounds a lot like "blonde slut" once translated.

      • by KiloByte (825081) on Monday March 30, 2009 @01:09PM (#27391265)

        These are right in the Unicode database.

        apt-get install unicode-data
        zgrep 'kDefinition.*blonde' /usr/share/unicode/Unihan.txt.bz2
        zgrep 'kDefinition.*slut' /usr/share/unicode/Unihan.txt.bz2

        The fun thing is, it's easier to search by meaning than by pronouciation or by how the character looks...

  • Link? (Score:5, Funny)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:16PM (#27390515) Homepage

    Someone have a link to this so I can start the downloading?

    Or do I need a Chinese proxy first?

    • Re:Link? (Score:5, Informative)

      by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:34PM (#27390767) Homepage

      You will need a Chinese proxy.

      I can read just enough Chinese to know which is the download link, but what songs I get is the luck of the draw.

      • Re:Link? (Score:5, Funny)

        by ByOhTek (1181381) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:36PM (#27390805) Journal

        Shall we call it Chinese Roulette instead of Russian Roulette?

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I can read just enough Chinese to know which is the download link, but what songs I get is the luck of the draw.

          Shall we call it Chinese Roulette instead of Russian Roulette?

          They're not that dissimilar; if you inadvertantly download "The Free Tibet Song", then the owner of the proxy gets a bullet through the head.

        • by b4dc0d3r (1268512)

          No you get 3 of your friends together, click random links, run around the car, and sit in each others' chairs, and then you get whatever the other person clicked on. That way it's still random, but you EXPECTED random.

          Wait, you'll need a car for this. OK, so you get 3 of your friends, and a car.

          OK, you'll need 3 friends as well. So 3 friends, a car, and the internet.

          • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            How about two cats, a dog, a Radio Flyer wagon, some strings and paper cups, will that work instead?

      • Re:Link? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:48PM (#27390983) Homepage

        Ok, there's also a flash based youtube/winamp-like player so you can preview very quickly.

        Then there is a right click context menu for downloading mp3s. The ones I got were all 192kbps.

        Best fucking music download site ever! Roll out world wide please.

        • The ones I got were all 192kbps.

          Proponents of the new service are also hoping it will combat illegal music downloads simply by offering higher quality songs for download.

          192kbs mp3 is higher quality?? I do not think those words mean what they think they mean...

          • by jamstar7 (694492)
            Compared to 128kbs, yes.

            Course, my hearing's a bit shot from all those years listening to rock at max volume, so 128kbs sounds good to me. I'm not an audiphile.

      • you missed the ubiquity story ?
        that plugin will translate the text for you to whatever you like it seems

    • I assume this one [google.cn] but the download link is blocked because it detects your IP's from US.
  • Surprised! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by XaviorPenguin (789745)
    I am surprised they are not blocking or at least filtering this out like they have done to YouTube and other sites on the Internet.
  • by Ahnteis (746045) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:18PM (#27390541)

    So let me get this straight -- massive piracy leads to free, legal downloads? I'm going to start installing p2p clients on every computer I'm asked to fix!

    • by francium de neobie (590783) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:34PM (#27390761)
      Just do it like the bankers - if everyone is a pirate, you're "too big to be prosecuted".
      • by aliquis (678370)

        That's why we make it easier for copyright holders to get information out of the ISPs starting tomorrow (IPRED, 1st april 2009) so we can get RIAA/MPAA "pay your way out" deals before it ever reaches actual prosecution over here to.

        Demanding fees from people who probably deserves it will most likely be easier to get by with than turning everyone into criminals and charging them as such.

        • If they're giving it away for free, I wonder what'll that'd do the the "value" of the songs they keep insisting are worth hundreds of bucks each.

          • the same thing giving trillions of dollars away to big companies does to the average working stiff's savings: make them worthless.

      • And also too big to fail...

    • Trying to Compete (Score:4, Insightful)

      by hax0r_this (1073148) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:37PM (#27390821)
      I would assume that Google is paying a small price for every download. From the sound of things they might recover a small portion of their costs in ad revenue, but the real goal is to offer a compelling service to capture more of the massive Chinese advertising market.

      Chinese Internet users now make up something like half of all internet users, and Google is currently losing to Baidu in that market. Thats a HUGE market to be losing in. So even if Google sees a net loss on offering music downloads, if they can become to Chinese internet users what they are to internet users in the rest of the world they just nearly doubled their ad viewers. Sure, an ad view in China is probably worth a little less, but with billions of viewers it hardly matters.
      • Well, since the huge China is the only country besides maybe little Canada that is actually solvent, it makes sense to launch this service there.
    • by aliquis (678370)

      There are no immediate plans to expand this service beyond China.

      Proof right there that there isn't enough piracy in Sweden!

      ... Or well, maybe Google thought they couldn't compete with our current distributors? =P

    • Correct. In fact, for long time already, you can buy legal American movies from Walmart in China at much lower price than in the US for the same title.
  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:22PM (#27390605)
    So, the key is to pirate songs so much that the labels have no choice but to offer legal, high quality downloads for free. Ok. Not what I expected but I'm willing to do my part...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by punkr0x (945364)
      You also have to ignore google for a while so they feel it necessary to lure you back with free songs.
  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:27PM (#27390655)

    So, let me get this straight. In order to stop the ever-growing black market of illegal music downloading and distribution, Google chooses to open up shop for free?

    So, if I start a massive wave of downloading pirated Microsoft software, when do I get my free copy of Office?

    The Chili Peppers had it right all along I guess...

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Samschnooks (1415697)
      Exactly! As a matter of fact, put all your CDs, DVDs, and other copyrighted material on-line for free and advertise it. That's the best way to break the system.

      Stick it to the man!

      • by KiloByte (825081)

        Why not? I just don't do the "advertise" part.

        Friends get the URL, archive.org has a backup of mp3s... It's sad to have them duplicate the disk space, but that's why I have movies/etc robotsed off. The music I listen to is rare old Black Metal, quite hard to find. But no, I won't post the URL on slashdot.

        The bands are mostly already gone -- so it's a pure win for the society.

        Be a man(/woman), symlink your ~/mp3 from Apache today!

        • by ben0207 (845105)

          I have a policy in my circle of friends / family that they simply name the album / film / game they want and if I already have it it's up as soon as I can stick it on my FTP. If I don't have it they wait a few days while I "acquire" it.

          The advantages to this scheme:
          1: I look like an amazingly hoopy frood for giving away free stuff
          2: it's secure as shit as it's so personal
          3: I don't have to fix their PCs when they get some dodgy wares.

          Win-win all round :)

    • by hedwards (940851)

      You sir are correct. Basically what they're doing is requiring individuals in countries that enforce copyright legislation subsidize the prices for individuals in nations that don't enforce it. Remind me again why exactly we're better off with the sort of thuggish protectionism that characterizes US IP policy.

  • New business plan (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yetihehe (971185) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:30PM (#27390695)
    1. Give music away for free 2. ?? 3. ???
    • 1. Give music away for free

      2. ???
      3. The Undead roam the Earth

    • This is not your typical Slashdot Meme.
    • by Camann (1486759) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:37PM (#27390815)
      It's better than what they had before: 1.??? 2.??? 3.???
    • by homesnatch (1089609) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:41PM (#27390883)
      Sure, they lose money on every sale, but they'll make it up in volume!
    • I assume that, being Google, ads will accompany the download service. Also, since the labels agreed to it, I would assume that they get a cut of the ad revenue.

      It may be an issue of the record labels simply agreeing to take something over nothing, however small that "something" may be.

    • Re:New business plan (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Locke2005 (849178) on Monday March 30, 2009 @12:51PM (#27391031)
      Not new at all. Google's business plan has always been:
      1) Create content that people want online.
      2) Give content away for free.
      3) Charge advertisers for ads delivered alongside content.
      4) Profit!
      As their profit is measured in the billions, offhand I would say this is a pretty good business plan.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        1) Create content that people want online.

        Google never has created any content. They make money off of content created by others. An excellent business plan, as long as you have the near-monopoly needed to make it work.

        • by hobbit (5915)

          It's just as well Google had that monopoly, otherwise they'd never have got off the ground </sarcasm>

    • by jperl (1453911)
      Are we talking about gnomes or google.
      I think it is:
      Phase 1: Give away music for free 2: ? Phase 3: Profit
  • 1. Generate a random mashup of various pots and pans being dropped down a flight of stairs.

    2. Sell them through Google.

    3. In China*

    4. Profit!

    * Note: Model only valid in China.

  • 1. Everything's "legal" in China, right?

    2. If it's on the Internet in China, it's probably on the Internet everywhere else, right?

    3. And the labels are going along with this...why?

  • They are trying to sell the one thing that is easier to rip off than anything man has ever produced before to a nation virtually built on ripping things off. Yeah that's going to work really well.

    • They're not *selling* anything, though. It's all completely free.

      The money comes from ads...

      I didn't see any when I checked it out, but then again, I don't read/speak/understand chinese

  • Google's music download service in China:

    http://g.cn/music [g.cn]

    and their very cool music screener

    http://www.google.cn/music/songscreener [google.cn]

  • by commodoresloat (172735) on Monday March 30, 2009 @01:53PM (#27391885)

    the library includes both Chinese and foreign artists

    But ... but ... but Chinese artists ARE foreign!!

  • To help you all out: (Score:2, Informative)

    by Landak (798221)
    List of free online public proxies located in china, listed by latency:

    http://www.xroxy.com/proxylist.php?port=&type=&ssl=&country=CN&latency=1000&reliability=9000&sort=latency#table

    "Easy listening songs" from google: here [google.cn].

    Note that the characters "äè½½" mean download, and if slashdot murders that for you, it's the link in the penultimate column in the table. Going down the left hand side of the page are words that correspond to different genres. In ord
  • Offtopic baidu test (Score:2, Interesting)

    by danking (1201931)
    This is off topic, but I have a little experiment for anyone who wants to give it a try. 1. goto baidu.com 2. search for anything or click on the page 3. Does it work? 4. go back to baidu.com 5. now search for falun gong 6. Did it work? 7. If not try going back to baidu.com, make sure you reference the page and don't just click back I did this and after I searched falun gong I seem to have been temporarily blocked from using the webpage. My connection seems to be getting interrupted.
    • by weeeeed (675324)

      The chinese firewall at work. That's how it works, it was covered many many times previously here on Slashdot.

      Btw, we here in Germany are getting our very own firewall very soon too and our proletariat seems to love it.

  • How is allowing users to download for free able to compete with free pirated versions? Maybe it's not free, but it doesn't state how much (if anything) it costs for this service...
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday March 30, 2009 @02:10PM (#27392109)

    I pay $5 for a pill, they pay the same company .10 for the same pill.
    I pay $15 for a CD (well actually not directly for 8 years), they pay nothing.
    I pay $50k for a college education, they come here to the same school and get massively subsidized.

    It really seems like the world economy exists to pump the wealth out of my environment.

    While I don't pay $15 for a CD, others pay that and so they have to charge prices for their products and labors that will cover that.

    I keep telling myself it will even out at some point- but then they get laws passed that say they can sell a product in another country for $1 and it is illegal to import/resale that product in my country for $1.10 instead of the $15 I pay.

    It is anti-capitalist. I could handle my wages going down 10% a year if the prices I pay for goods were going down at the same rate.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Robert1 (513674)

      Yes, thank you. This is exactly the problem with free-trade, it seems to be designed entirely to sap the wealth out of richer countries and give them to poorer countries. Free-trade in principal would be a great idea, except for the fact that it seems the US (and a very few other western nations) are the only countries that actually practice the 'free' part of free-trade.

      Oh yeah, sure export your foreign vehicles, do you mind if we send some to you Japan? Oh what's that, you put giant tariffs and unit limit

    • It is anti-capitalist. I could handle my wages going down 10% a year if the prices I pay for goods were going down at the same rate.

      That's exactly what has happened, except in the reverse order.

      Prices dropped (relatively) on consumer goods due to globalisation (see prices at Walmart, for example). Wages stayed high. Now, due to the recession, wages are dropping (in effect -- more people unemployed ~= lower wages).

      Not you specifically, but anyone who complains about globalisation or offshoring, but shop

    • by mathfeel (937008)

      I pay $50k for a college education, they come here to the same school and get massively subsidized.

      First, really smart people from anywhere gets subsidized, period. Other than that, foreign students pays high tuition and no program to subsidize them (some would work illegally on the side). Most the subsidies you talked about are in science/tech Ph.D. programs where there is usually fee remission with TA-ship/RA-ship. Not every PI enthusiastically takes on foreign student because they do cost more of their grant money. Frankly I think the issue is that there aren't just enough native Ph.D. students (for

    • You don't HAVE to pay first-world prices for those things; that's what the global marketplace is all about. The catch is, you don't "have" to get a first-world salary, either.

      But let's get this straight. Foreign students pay higher tuition fees. That's why colleges are so keen to get international students and their money. Of course, many of them come from places where the income level isn't high enough to afford those inflated fees, so they have to earn it through work-study or merit-based scholarships.

      • Our first world salary has been going down for 20 years while the rich and executive classes salaries went up by 300x.

        As for the "global" marketplace-- reread what I said.

        Companies sell their products extremely inexpensively in poor countries, extremely expensively in rich companies, and have laws passed to prevent product flow from where they sell the same exact product for 1/10th of the price.

        The way it used to work is that if you sold a TV for $50 in Cleveland, and $500 in California, a cross import busi

    • It really seems like the world economy exists to pump the wealth out of my environment.

      I see this going on in my country as well (small West-European). Except, we actively aid this process by spending 0.8% of our GDP to foreign aid. Personally, I feel that we lead a pretty good life and I also feel it's my moral obligation to pass on some of that wealth.

      I have the feeling you're seeing the issue cast in a negative light. Instead, think about how you're in the luxurious position of being able to miss some of your earnings.

      Enough with the touchy-feely, on to the facts...

      as a percent of gross national income, its contribution is only 0.2%, proportionally much smaller than than contributions of countries such as Sweden (1.04% and the United Kingdom (0.52%).

      -- Foreign aid by the [wikipedia.org]

  • ...deep-linking to the songs on Google's servers? It'd be upsetting for Google if they setup all the infrastructure, eat all the costs, and Baidu reaps the rewards by linking to the self-same content.
  • What hidden DRM will there be. I'm thinking a lot.
  • It's amazing at what google is doing now days. I guess I'm really inspired by Google because I am a software engineer that finds how they go about their business very unique. I wrote an article on my blog about why you should use Google. The blog is focused on helping people who are new to computers/internet and want to learn to use them more efficiently. Check out the article about why you should use google at http://onlineinnovation.blogspot.com/2009/03/why-you-should-use-google.html [blogspot.com] If you have any s
  • Not really legal (Score:2, Interesting)

    by realwhz (1177587)
    If it is really legal, who not provide the similar service out of China?

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