Chinese search engine Baidu, a thorn at Google’s side, has signed a music licensing deal with three of the world’s biggest record labels.
The search engine, often criticised for listing pirated MP3 downloads, signed a deal with One Stop China, which comprises of Universal Music, Sony BMG and Warner Music Group.
Under the two year deal, Baidu will stop indexing links to websites that offer pirated music in China, a move which is widely welcomed by both publishers and artists both in China and abroad.
The music labels have agreed to offer more than 500,000 songs, around 10 percent in Mandarin and Cantonese, which will stored on Baidu’s servers. Baidu will offer the songs for free streaming and downloads from its MP3 search page and its new music based social network Ting.
According to an article on The New York Times (opens in new tab), Baidu will share the revenue from advertisements with the labels if it surpasses a particular amount. Also, the labels will be paid by Baidu each time a song is streamed or downloaded from its website.
“We’ve never wanted to stand there and thumb our noses at the recording industry,” said Kaiser Kuo, Baidu’s director of international communications.
“This is a watershed moment. It’s a great way for us to deliver the best possible user experience by providing free and high-quality music and brings obvious tangible benefits to all parties involved including the labels, artists and advertisers.” he added.