Chinese Internet search leader Baidu.com Inc. has signed an agreement with one of Taiwan's largest Chinese-language record labels to offer streaming music services supported by advertising revenue.
A selection of music from the label Rock Music Group, whose artists include Mayday and Bobby Chen, will be available for streaming at no charge to Baidu's users, the companies said. Advertisements will be displayed when users listen to the music, which will pay for the service. The companies will share the revenue generated and explore other ways to partner in online music.
Baidu has signed such agreements before with major music companies. In January, EMI Group PLC partnered with Baidu on a free music streaming service in China, in a similar ad-supported scheme.
Internet companies in China have sought to sign more of such deals since running into legal trouble for linking to sites that offer unauthorized music downloads. Last year, Baidu won a case brought by The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) on behalf of major record labels, which accused Baidu of abetting music piracy. An IFPI-led court case in April, however, found that Yahoo China should be responsible for removing links to Web sites offering unauthorized music downloads, and the Beijing No. 2 Intermediate People's Court fined the company 210,000 Chinese renminbi (US$27,202).
Baidu operates the most popular search engine in China. Rock Music has offices around Asia, including Taipei, Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore and Tokyo to seek new talent and produce records.