Chinese search giant Baidu has put an end to six years' arguing over piracy and signed a deal with Sony, Warner and Universal through their One-Stop China operation.
The three are licensing their catalogs and upcoming new releases to Baidu, including Chinese songs and international tracks, which can be streamed or downloaded from Baidu's servers. There'll be around half a million tracks at launch, allowing Chinese users to legitimately enjoy the delights of Lady Gaga and Beyonce.
Baidu will pay the music companies on a per-play and per-download basis, with tracks delivered through the Baidu MP3 Search service as well as its newly launched social music platform, ting!.
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."
According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, China has a music piracy rate of 'virtually 100 percent' - and it citeed Baidu as the 'biggest roadblock' to legalizing digital music in China.
Through the organization, Sony, Universal Music and Warner Music sued Baidu in 2008 for US$9 million in copyright damages. As part of the new deal, the three have agreed to end their litigation.