The deal represents a coup for the company, which has beaten Western rivals such as Google to the punch. The US company, along with Amazon, recently announced the launch of a cloud-based music service that allows users to store music they already own. However, high financial demands on the part of the labels is believed to be behind a failure to reach a deal to license music, meaning the Google service cannot be used to download tracks.
But the deal Baidu has signed with One-Stop China, a joint venture between Universal Music; Warner Music; and Sony Music, means it will license back catalogues and new releases from the three labels, handing it an advantage in the potentially lucrative legal music download market.
The search engine will pay royalties on a “per-play and per-download basis”. Downloads will be available via Baidu’s advertising-powered Ting website.