I heard a rumour yesterday, while chatting with a few friends. Baidu is going to resolve its disputes with three of the biggest music companies in the world (Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group). There will be no more illegal downloads of MP3 from its site. It is going to pay for licensing fee for the music, by sharing ad revenue with the music companies.

Baidu has been free-riding on the music companies’ intellectual properties to build its popularity among young internet users in China. In its early days, (2003-04) about 50% of Baidu’s traffic was from offering MP3, most of which with no proper copyright.

My guess is: those days are gone. Now Baidu no longer need to do so. It is the leading search engine with has over 70% of China’s market. A recent check with Alexa showed that MP3 accounted for only about 3.3% of Baidu’s traffic today.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Sherman So

Author of Red Wired: China's Internet Revolution, the first book to completely survey the nature of China's internet. (http://redwiredrevolution.com/) She previously was the lead China technology reporter...