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Google Stops Offering Free Music Service In China

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the cows-go-begging-milk-is-free dept.

China 67

SquarePixel writes "Google has yanked its free music service in China after being unable to make it popular enough. The service offered Chinese people free licensed music downloads and was launched in 2009 to compete with the rival search engine Baidu. 'Once China's second largest search provider, Google has now fallen to fourth place, overtaken by other local companies. — Google's popularity in the country has waned ever since 2010, when the company pulled the plug on its China-based search engine following disputes with the government over censorship and hacking concerns. Google's market share is at 5 percent, while Baidu's is 74 percent.'"

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China seems like a nice place to live (3, Funny)

O3993 (2736913) | about 2 years ago | (#41422169)

With free music downloads and all.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422185)

Exactly. All IP is free in China! It's like Stallman's wet dream.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (2)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 2 years ago | (#41422413)

Yeah, who needs clean air and water or basic freedoms when one can download music for free.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422437)

Awww. You think you have clean air and basic freedoms. That's cute.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41422473)

Aww, you think you're clever. That's adorable.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422593)

Aww, you think you're clever. That's adorable.

This from a person with the gut-wrenchingly hilarious User Name "wonkey_monkey".

Frankly, (s)he was both right and funny and your comment is just a pointless just waste of space.

That's adorable.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

kaatochacha (651922) | about 2 years ago | (#41422729)

Aww, look at the adorable AC (two, one, we're not sure). making comments.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41424497)

Aww, look are the supercilious pseudonymous user attempting to patronize AC's. That's precious.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41432235)

Aww, look at the nosy comment analyzer defending AC's. Wait a minute..where am I?

Aww....look at me..

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41425377)

Best Reply Ever

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422477)

What's cute is that you seem to have assumed something about where "gshegosh" lives.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422543)

What's cute is that you seem to have assumed something about where "gshegosh" lives.

Perhaps, but "planet earth" seems like a safe bet. The belief that nowhere on earth offers 'basic freedoms' is a reasonable one (based on certain political and ethical judgments, sure, but not wildly outlandish ones), questioning the 'cleanness' of air perhaps goes a little further but I think you'll find plenty of people that will consider the atmosphere of the planet as a whole to be 'polluted'.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (2)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#41422565)

With enough money you can buy your way to freedom somewhere on earth. We're all stuck breathing air, and pollution ends up everywhere in varying concentrations.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41422749)

I disagree; I'm sure there's some places where there's lots of real freedom and clean air. The south pole comes to mind....

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 2 years ago | (#41427603)

The belief that nowhere on earth offers 'basic freedoms' is a reasonable one

Why is it reasonable? Got any proof?

I could choose what I did with my life, what I studied, where I live, where and how I work. I can speak freely and am mostly free to do what I please as long as I do not disturb other people's freedom. That's "basic freedoms" if you ask me. If you think that we're all slaves because corporations and corrupt governments rule and we have mortgages or are married or whatever -- that's your opinion. Do not present it as facts.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

poity (465672) | about 2 years ago | (#41422671)

"You're not perfect" is the tried-and-true retort of the miserable.
Say this, or anything like it, and you shut down criticism along with any desire for self-reflection.
Enjoy your brief moment of one-upmanship, because ultimately it's not he who loses, but you.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 2 years ago | (#41426497)

Awww. You think you have clean air and basic freedoms. That's cute.

Yeah, being able to comment about my freedom (or lack of it) without risking death penalty makes living where I live a little bit better than in China. And, water here is still blue and air is transparent. Not like on pictures I've seen from China, but of course they were photoshopped.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422945)

Yeah, who needs ... basic freedoms when one can download music for free.

+1

Here in America you are totally free to get on the TSA no-fly list by exercising your freedom of speech.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 2 years ago | (#41423279)

Citation requested.

Re:China seems like a nice place to live (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#41425397)

What? (3, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41422183)

"Google is shutting a Chinese music search service that offered free licensed music downloads because it wasn't popular enough"

They should launch it in Europe or North America then, I don't think they would have that problem here. What's next, will they launch a free Japanese online library in Brazil?

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422357)

But why would anyone launch something like that here when people are willing to pay $1 per song, and $20 per month for songs they can't own?

Ad-based was presumably the only thing that would work in a country that the RIAA can't touch.

Re:What? (1)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41422387)

Pretty much yep... They did it as a gimmick to attract people.
They already have the market share in NA/Eu so no need for that same deal.

Re:What? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422959)

Re:What? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41423263)

I knew I should have used my original idea, namely Zimbabwe.

No one (1)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about 2 years ago | (#41422191)

Can compete with China

Chinese are the Jews of the East (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422321)

More information here [youtube.com]

Re:Chinese are the Jews of the East (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422425)

Well, at least we don't have to watch about 15 movies a year about the Chinese holocaust.

Wah! (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#41422351)

If we can't be #1, we're going to take our ball and go home...

Re:Wah! (3, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#41422399)

If it's losing them money and they are losing market share, why not?
It was a gimmick to gain market share, it failed, so why keep doing it?

Re:Wah! (1)

Rincewind42 (973462) | about 2 years ago | (#41426957)

Why keep it going? Because I live in China and I like it.

Actually no, I always use Baidu.com to download my music. Google flopped because it just doesn't provide what Chinese people want. It keeps thinking that providing American preferences to Chinese people will be successful. Baidu's search and other services like music are way behind Google's but Baidu understands the Chinese marketplace and provides services tailored to match.

5 percent of the Chinese population (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422403)

That's almost 70 million people. And Google can get an average advertising revenue stream of $50/yr per viewer, then that's adding annual sales of $3.5 billion.

That's the "Chinese Math" that venture capitalists every week in pitches from entrepreneurs.

Re:5 percent of the Chinese population (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422561)

it was all from one account, and they shared the password

thats the "Chinese Math" in action

Re:5 percent of the Chinese population (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41425013)

you aren't going to get $50/yr out of chinese ad viewers. If they did google never would have pulled the publicity stunt of pulling out of their and risking that much money.

Google 4th? Citation needed ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422573)

The latest information from statcounter.com has the marketshare breaking down into 73.13% Baidu, 23.24% for Google and the other search engines all under 2%.

Has statcounter.com made a serious blunder with their research, or is cnzz.com (the apparent source of the statistics) a more authoritative source? Since I don't speak Chinese I can't really verify cnzz.com's claims.

Or is the whole premise of this article flawed?

Re:Google 4th? Citation needed ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41422975)

Mod parent up.

Google hasn't fallen to 4th in China in browser usage terms. Does anybody even know the names of the search engines occupying positions 2 and 3?

Re:Google 4th? Citation needed ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41423055)

Statcounter also thinks Chrome is used 3x as much as Internet Explorer. Your answer is right there.

Re:Google 4th? Citation needed ...... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426161)

http://gs.statcounter.com/

No it doesn't. IE & Chrome are 32.85% and 33.59% respectively. Maybe if some dumb slashdot article picked one version of IE and compared it to Chrome you might get stats like you were talking about ...... yeah you got fooled by the silly headline.

This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (4, Interesting)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41422687)

If you refuse to collaborate with repressive and corrupt government, refrain from pushing tax loopholes, lax regulations, and permissive laws, and treat your customers and employees fairly and respectfully, it's going to cost you money, at least in the short term. And your stockholders are only interested in money, and are not great at long-term thinking. Executives who don't maximize profits lose their jobs. So "profits over people" is not so much a sign of corporate depravity as a sign of an absence of corporate free will.

Google can get away with being an exception to this because Google is structured so that Brin, Page, and Schmidt between them have 2/3 of the voting power, even though their equity stake is less than 5%. This allows them to ignore the other stockholders and do things like turn their backs on the largest market on the planet for purely ethical reasons.

I guess this kind of corporate dictatorship is cool when it means that ethics can overcome greed. On the other hand, it also means that Google can't seem to outgrow its backyard hot tub origins [cnn.com] .

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (3, Insightful)

Grishnakh (216268) | about 2 years ago | (#41422795)

Why should anyone give a shit if Google can "outgrow their backyard hot tub origins"? Google is already a big company, and globally recognized. Isn't that good enough? This American obsession with growing and growing without end needs to stop. Companies don't need to grow. They need to grow to a comfortable size, and then when they're at an efficient size for whatever they're doing, they should be able to just maintain that size, provide good products and services and provide good employment for their employees and be profitable, and that should be good enough, without a bunch of morons whining about how they're not growing any more and this makes them "stagnant".

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

TheSwift (2714953) | about 2 years ago | (#41423029)

What's enticing about Google isn't so much how big it can get as a corporate company, but how much it can connect the world through open-source methods and ideas. The prospect of connecting the world's largest demographic through social media and other social interactivity to America and the rest of the world who relies heavily on Google fits very nicely into Google's vision. It makes perfect sense why Google would want to expand their market to China. Google isn't going to accept a "comfortable size" - it's always wanted the world.

I'm no fan of one giant conglomeration conquering the world market of anything, but I admit that it's exciting to imagine being able to easily interact with other nations, especially China. The medium doesn't have to be Google, but right now, it's the only one with the vision big enough to do it. I don't see Baidu offering me free music downloads.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41424111)

Why should anyone give a shit if Google can "outgrow their backyard hot tub origins"? Google is already a big company, and globally recognized. Isn't that good enough? This American obsession with growing and growing without end needs to stop.

I was talking about their ability to act like a mature software company, not get bigger. They're certain good at that They've grown at least 20% every year since they were founded, often much more. The software side as at 34,000 employees, and was growing at about 1,000 a year before they bought Motorola and added 20,000 employees in one fell swoop.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41424859)

There is nothing wrong with a company not growing and instead just producing a healthy profit. However that is not how google has its shares currently priced, to move to that model would see Google shares halve in value, nothing wrong with that but it would sure piss off all their investors.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

Pulzar (81031) | about 2 years ago | (#41433411)

Google is already a big company, and globally recognized. Isn't that good enough? This American obsession with growing and growing without end needs to stop.

Because time and time again, the companies that stop growing start dying... there are precious few that can just continue to do what they do forever on, and there are probably none in the fast-changing tech world.

If you aren't growing, it means you're not doing new things that people want, and in the world where hundreds of other companies are trying new stuff, your old moneymaker product will slowly turn into trash.

But, we also benefit from this desire to grow -- Google could've been satisfied with their massive PC search profits and never tried to get into mobile. So could've Microsoft. The only alternative to iOS would've still been Blackbeery.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (0)

houghi (78078) | about 2 years ago | (#41423125)

Google's market share is at 5 percent, while Baidu's is 74 percent. And then you said turn their backs on the largest market on the planet for purely ethical reasons. and also I guess this kind of corporate dictatorship is cool when it means that ethics can overcome greed.

To me it sounds as if they left because of greed and not ethics. Sure, it might mean that they can not do business in China on their ethical scale, but they left because of the profits.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (2)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41424201)

I was referring to their decision to shut down their Chinese search engine two years ago. If they had kept it open (which would have meant complying with government policies on censorship and user privacy) they would certainly be one of the biggest search providers in China, and their other Chinese businesses would have done much better.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

gshegosh (1587463) | about 2 years ago | (#41427663)

Last time I checked, there were more than 1 000 000 000 Chinese people. 5% of it is still 50 million people, they would need 130% market share in my country to have so many users ;-)

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41423377)

The Chinese protestionis strategy works, the European free market strategy doesn't.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about 2 years ago | (#41423713)

It doesn't matter how benevolent the shareholders are, because if they don't do things that maximize profit, even if most companies don't do things that maximize profit, there will be one company that does, and that company will push all the others out of business.

You can be good, but if you aren't profitable some other company will push you out, and t he only ones remaining will be evil companies.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41424155)

When you spin complicated (and in this case, logically inconsistent) theories, you might want to test them against the real world.

You can be profitable without maximizing profit, and that's precisely what Google does. They make so much money from their few businesses that make money, they can have a lot of other business that are unprofitable, and even turn their back on major markets (China! One third of the human race!) and still have a bottom line ($8 billion in profit last year) that boggles the mind.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41425015)

yet Google bows down the the wishes of the French gov and censors searches for Nazi paraphernalia in France. And thats just one example i can use, im sure there is many more. Why the double standard?

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about 2 years ago | (#41427439)

yet Google bows down the the wishes of the French gov and censors searches for Nazi paraphernalia in France. And thats just one example i can use, im sure there is many more. Why the double standard?

Because blocking nutjobs (and some serious collectors) from buying Nazi underpants is probably not perceived as being the loss of a serious human right. Personally though I'd disagree. The best test of freedom of speech and expression is in how it treats people with unpleasant/unpopular views. While I'd say it should be completely legal for some some angry twat to walk the streets dressed as Colonel Klink, the history associated with Nazi imagery means that there should be a far lower bar when determining the potential to threaten or stir unrest. Whether someone feels insulted or upset should be irrelevant, and as we become more multicultural, we'd better develop thicker skins and societies that don't expect the law to protect individual sensibilities.

No organisation or person are perfectly consistent. Google, while not being a paragon of virtue, has behaved more ethically than many other companies do (and would have done) in similar situations. Criticise them when they drop the ball, but don't expect corporations to behave as if on a godly mission for justice and fair play.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#41425405)

By definition all governments are repressive and corrupt.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41425531)

Ah, another silly libertarian. All public entities are bad, all private ones are good. By that logic, the ideal society is run by the Mafia.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | about 2 years ago | (#41425605)

Just look at how public entities are formed. By theft. If I don't want to support X Corp, I don't buy X Corp's products. They get none of my revenue. If I oppose, say, a government's war, I must fund it or get tossed in jail.

A corporation's goal is to make money. In a free market they can only get money by making products or producing services that people want. A government's goal is control. Since the end of the gold standard, the government doesn't even have to make money, it can just print it and devalue the money of everyone else.

The ideal society is not run by the mafia, but, the government IS very similar to the mafia, the only difference is that the mafia is looked at (rightfully!) as an evil gang whereas the state is looked at as having redeeming qualities.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41425793)

Well, if you only look at the things that governments do that you don't like (make you pay taxes) and only look at the stuff private business does that you do like (sells you stuff you want), then yeah, government is absolutely evil and businesses are absolutely good.

But in the real world, governments do good things and businesses do bad things. Look at the history of slavery.

Another little point: what do you suppose happens to private entities when there's no government to restrict their power? The become more and powerful until the get the last word in every argument. In other words, they become governments. So you can't avoid having governments. The best you can do is set up governments so that they're not too obnoxious.

Re:This is why Corporations Do Evil Things (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426315)

Just look at how public entities are formed. By theft. If I don't want to support X Corp, I don't buy X Corp's products. They get none of my revenue. If I oppose, say, a government's war, I must fund it or get tossed in jail.

A corporation's goal is to make money. In a free market they can only get money by making products or producing services that people want. A government's goal is control. Since the end of the gold standard, the government doesn't even have to make money, it can just print it and devalue the money of everyone else.

The ideal society is not run by the mafia, but, the government IS very similar to the mafia, the only difference is that the mafia is looked at (rightfully!) as an evil gang whereas the state is looked at as having redeeming qualities.

The end game of any free market is a natural monopoly. Once this has occurred or is coming close to occurring then any new competition will get pushed out of the market before they can even think about making a profit. Do you really think that a monopoly market will be priced at the best rate for consumers? Why would they run at a 5% or 10% profit margin when they can run at a 200% margin?

And before you mention that people can just choose not buy the services or products at all, what happens when you need that particular product or service to survive? How well would someone living in (say) the northern states survive not having electricity or gas? What about water? Does your area get enough rain to provide you (and your neighbors) enough potable water? How about telecommunications? Would you be able to keep your job if you had no means of communicating from home? How would you bitch about the lack of competition if you had no internet connection? Could you farm enough food on the land you own to survive?

Your government is only acting like the mafia because that is what is expected of it. If enough of your people wake up and start to expect a government which is accountable to the people and that corporations do not have a god-given right to a profit then you may end up with a government which you can be proud of. A government who would actually pass laws which benefit the people rather then the profits.

Personal Internet (1)

fufufang (2603203) | about 2 years ago | (#41422719)

My parents lived in the UK for 5 years before moving back to China. I have create OpenVPN + Squid proxy combo for them, so they can use normal Internet. In China, you quite often get connection resets while using Google.

But yeh, my family have totally ignored Chinese government's censorship.

The sad reality is that if I want to start a protest about the Internet censorship, I can't. Quite a lot of people believing that censoring information on porn, religous cult, and separatist movement is a good thing. The central government has brainwashed the general populace very well. It has successfully taken the concept of freedom out of most people's soul.

Re:Personal Internet (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41422983)

It has successfully taken the concept of freedom out of most people's soul.

The Americans have Hollywood and over 500 channels to do the very same thing. It really is torture with the soft pillows.

Re:Personal Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426437)

It has successfully taken the concept of freedom out of most people's soul.

The Americans have Hollywood and over 500 channels to do the very same thing. It really is torture with the soft pillows.

how comes that for every comment criticizing the chinese government on the internet there is a reaction targeting the US? It's not like you could justify an action by pointing out that someone else is doing the same.

Re:Personal Internet (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 years ago | (#41427585)

It's not 'justifying' anything. It's a reminder that we all need to clean house, especially those who go around saying we're not as bad as the other guy.

Cooperation between government and industry (1)

cvtan (752695) | about 2 years ago | (#41422877)

Glad to see a joint project between Chinese govt. and Baidu can be so successful. Maybe the US govt. and GM can get together.

Unlike Americans they are smart enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41424241)

To hire themselves why give employment to others.
They buy China we could learn a thing or two here.

Google suffers sabotage, more than censorship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41424631)

Google hasn't got a chance against Baidu. In China, the government randomly blocks Google connections, maybe several times per hour. This has nothing to do with content. It is a deliberate ploy to give Baidu an unfair advantage. Remember that Baidu's founder is probably the richest man in China (in terms of legally accumulated wealth that he can actually put his name on).

Niche (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41424869)

Numbers don't lie.

Face it, a search engine that has significantly reduced censorship relative to mainstream options is of little interest in China. I expect it would be of little interest here if a search engine with much heavier censorship than Google was mainstream.

THIS IS AN OUTRAGE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41425097)

What's the deal with these seditious Chinks who dare to rebuff attempts by western entities to exercise control over them?
Washington need to redouble its effort to undermine and subvert these fuckers.
Because we all know democrazy is the best. Just look at our bitches like India.

Great Firewall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41426459)

google stands no chance here as long as they are located in hongkong. it's just painfully slow, so you are forced to use a local site.

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