Baidu, the largest search engine in China has agreed to pay the music industry millions of dollars in royalties stemming from illegally downloaded MP3s and streaming songs. The search giant announced this week that they have signed a deal with various music industry officials in regards to their music search feature.
Under the new agreement all songs downloaded and streamed will be paid royalties. In order for an artist to collect their fair share of those royalties they must first become a member of the Music Copyright Society of China.
Under the company’s new plans they will offer free downloads of MP3s on a discreet section of their website, while using advertising revenue to pay for those downloads, however at this time the amount being paid to artists per download has not been divulged.
With 75.5 percent of the search market in China and a song search section that is unparalleled in the search industry, the RIAA has called Baidu “undoubtedly one of the largest distributors of infringing music in the world.”
Baidu isn’t the only service in China to offer ad supported digital downloads and streaming services, Google with 19.6 percent of the market already has a deal in place with Orca Digital to offer such services to their Chinese user base.
At this time it sure does seem like Baidu is telling the industry what they will receive, it will be interesting to see if the RIAA and other international players can get the Chinese government to offer them a more robust compensation package for their artist work.