In a move suggesting they might be ready to accept the realities of the internet era, major US record labels have reached a deal with Chinese search engine company Baidu. The agreement between the search giant and One-Stop China, a joint venture of Universal, Warner and Sony BMG, will result in licensed tracks popping up in searches instead of pirated ones and resolve years of legal wrangling between the two sides. Baidu launched its ting! social music service earlier this year with support from local labels and EMI, while this new deal will see labels paid per-play, per-download and from advertising. Between this and the recent launch of Spotify in the US the cheap and easy fun of music piracy is slipping away rapidly, if record labels continue to act sensibly then illegal downloads will soon be limited to hipsters ironically cracking open vintage editions of Soulseek.
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Baidu Launches Landmark Licensed Music Service
07/19/11
One-Stop China joins hands with Baidu to build new social music platform

BEIJING, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --

Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU), the leading Chinese language Internet search provider, announced today that it has signed a landmark agreement for the distribution of digital music with One-Stop China (OSC), a joint venture whose shareholders are three of the leading global record companies: Universal Music, Warner Music, and Sony Music.

OSC shareholders will license to Baidu their catalogues and upcoming new releases, including Chinese songs (in Mandarin and Cantonese) and international tracks, which can be streamed or downloaded from Baidu's servers.

Under the terms of the deal, Baidu will remunerate music content owners on a per-play and per-download basis for all tracks delivered through the Baidu MP3 Search service, as well as Baidu's newly launched social music platform, ting!. The new product offers users the ability to discover and share music and music-related content.

Users will be able to sign up for membership free of charge through the advertising-supported ting! website, ting.baidu.com.

"Baidu has always striven to provide the best possible experience to our users," said Jennifer Li, Chief Financial Officer of Baidu. "Our partnership with One-Stop China marks an exciting new beginning. I'm confident that Baidu, the Chinese music fans, recording artists, and the record companies alike will all benefit from this win-win partnership," said Ms. Li.

Representatives of OSC today also welcomed the agreement.

Speaking jointly as the shareholders of OSC, Lachie Rutherford, President Warner Music Asia Pacific, Max Hole, COO Universal Music Group International, and Thomas Hesse, President, Global Digital Business, US Sales and Corporate Strategy, Sony Music Entertainment, said: "This deal connects One-Stop's world-class repertoire of licensed music to a massive audience, creating crucial new opportunities for artists. All parties, especially music fans, will benefit from the growth of this type of compelling music service."

The new partnership with OSC was accompanied by a conciliation agreement, endorsed by the Beijing High People's Court, that ended outstanding litigation between the three record companies and Baidu.

About Baidu

Baidu, Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider. As a technology-based media company, Baidu aims to provide the best way for people to find information. In addition to serving individual Internet search users, Baidu provides an effective platform for businesses to reach potential customers. Baidu's ADSs currently trade on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol "BIDU". Each of Baidu's Class A ordinary shares is represented by 10 ADSs.

About One-Stop China

One-Stop China is a joint venture established by Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music to facilitate the licensing and availability of digital music in China. It aims to provide progressive digital music services with the widest possible range of repertoire to serve the needs of consumers, while representing the interests and rights of creators and content owners.

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China's Baidu licenses music from major US record labels for streaming and downloads