BEIJING: Google's free online music service, available exclusively in China, is now providing up to five million tracks each day and has signed up a clutch of big international advertisers including Nokia, Apple and Volkswagen.
Gary Chen, chief executive of Chinese-owned Orca Digital; which hooked up with Google in March in a bid to combat online music piracy, said the firm hoped to finalise deals with up to 30 advertisers by the end of this year, with each bringing in around $1 million (€672,000; £602,000).
While other music services continue to charge fans for tracks and albums, Google believes that this has had a limited impact on the fast-growing online music piracy business.
Under its deal with Orca, Google benefits from increased traffic on its Chinese site, while its Chinese partner splits ad revenue with the music labels involved in the deal; Sony Music, EMI and Universal Music.
The service already offers 700,000 tracks to Chinese music-lovers and this will grow to more than 1.1 million by the end of 2009.
At least part of Google's enthusiasm for the service is the potential to lure traffic away from China's top search engine Baidu, which controlled 61% of the market in Q2 compared with Google's 29%, according to Analysys International research.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff