Google offers free music downloads in China

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Google has expanded the free music service it announced last year in China to include songs by artists from each of the big four U.S. record labels. The move comes as an effort to draw users away from Google's Chinese competitors, especially Baidu, which has a dominant share of the market in that region due largely to its controversial practice of linking to pirated music in their search results.

The service is supported by advertising revenue which must be shared with the music industry and Chinese music download website The venture should generate profits for record companies in a market where 99% of all downloads are illegal, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), and could expand in the near future with a voice search feature for the music search engine. Google says it has no plans to expand the service outside of China, though.

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