Just caught this post from hypebot:
Google is reportedly just weeks away from announcing a free music service in China with the help of Top100.cn. The move helps Google compete with China's top search engine Biadu who allows searches of pirated downloads that Google blocks. Beijing based Top100.cn already has deals with Universal Music and a hundred other foreign and domestic labels to sell licensed downloads for 1 yuan (14 cents). Now working with Google, they will offer free watermarked mp3's paired with value added services like links to concert dates and ringtones.The article goes on to say that it's estimated that 90% of music in China is pirated, so it's a nice snapshot of where we're heading. It's also an ideal place to try a music model that competes with illegal P2P networks. One significant difference in Google's plan vs less-than-successful (perhaps an understatement) attempts by like SpiralFrog and Qtrex is that while the latter is ad-supported, the former is added-value supported. Google's success has always been in being tricky - providing some valuable service while sneakily slipping in their own ends. But I'm cool with that.