EMI, Baidu advertising Web music deal

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NEW YORK -- EMI Group's EMI Music unit and Chinese Internet search firm Baidu.com said Tuesday that they have launched an advertising-supported free streaming music service in China.

The venture is the latest in a recent slew of experiments by major music companies with ad-supported Web music models.

Under the latest arrangement, EMI's Typhoon Music will make Chinese music available in a themed EMI Music Zone of Baidu's music-search channel. The music, including such artists as Jolin Tsai, David Tao, Richie Ren, Stephanie Sun and Sandy Lam, will be free for users of the online service.

While listening to songs, users will be served with online ads. EMI and Baidu will share the revenue generated from the ads. Further financial details were not disclosed.

EMI and Baidu called the arrangement "a pioneering approach to monetizing and promoting digital music in China."

The partners also said Tuesday that they will look into the possibility of offering free music downloads.

"EMI and Baidu's co-operation is a major breakthrough in the history of online music in China," said Norman Cheng, chairman of EMI Music Asia and director of Typhoon Music.

Baidu chairman and CEO Robin Li said "this co-operation between Baidu and EMI will create a meaningful ecosystem for value generating services for Baidu users, content providers and advertisers."

Baidu, which accounts for more than 60% of China's online search market, has been adding to its entertainment offers. For example, it launched a venture with Viacom Inc.'s MTV Networks unit in October. Under that deal, Baidu distributes music videos and other content.
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