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Google shutters China-only music service

Google has shuttered its three-year old music China-only music service, admitting that things haven’t worked out quite as well as it hoped.

Stuart Thomas: Motorburn Editor
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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In a post on the Google China blog the internet giant explains that the service is not a part of its global Google Music service, but was actually run in collaboration with Whale Music.

People have until 19 October to download their playlists, although as of today all legal MP3 downloads and streaming is dead on the site.

According to Google (translation via Tech in Asia), it shut down the service because: “The impact of this product is not as great as we expected, so we decided to shift resources to other products.”

One reason that it might not have been the hit Google was hoping for is that there are already plenty of competitors in the space. One of the biggest comes from Chinese search giant Bing in the form of Baidu Ting.

There are also a number of startup music services including Xiami and Jing.fm.

It’s worthwhile remembering that while Google does still have a presence in China, it is comparatively tiny. Baidu makes up nearly 80% of the Chinese search market with others having to fight over the scraps. Its forays into other online avenues will therefore not be as well received as Google’s have been in other countries.

Baidu’s also taken the closing of the service as an opportunity to remind people that its own service will continue to run as normal. In a statement made to The Next Web, it also reiterated that it would respect the intellectual property of artists on the platform:

Google’s music service was a positive force for the promotion of licensed music in China. At Baidu, we’ll continue the push for music services that respect intellectual property, ensuring that artists and labels are rewarded while satisfying the needs of listeners.

The service started out life with pirated content, but went legit after striking a deal with One Stop China — a collaboration between Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music.