google.cn/music as of this morning: “Google music search service has been turned off. Please log in and download saved playlists before October 19th”
Google China have just announced (Chinese) the closing down of their pioneering music search service in China. Opening it’s doors in early 2009, the service partnered with Top100 to offer a free and legal music search service for full track downloading and streaming, complete with licenses from the four majors and dozens of domestic labels - a move totally unprecedented elsewhere in the world.
This market-specific offering was seen as a desperate attempt by both Google and the labels to take on local search behemoth Baidu’s notorious MP3 search, a key traffic driver for Baidu and target of much music industry vitriol.
Three years later and Google’s China retreat is well documented, ultimately now at the cost of their tenuously positioned music search service. Perhaps at the end of licensing agreements, perhaps due to poor take-up, or perhaps simply a collateral victim of Google’s China woes, this is how Dr Boon-Lock Yeo, Senior Engineering Director at Google China broke the news on the Google China blog, with no comment available elsewhere (Our translation as follows. The first English language coverage of this):
We are committed to building excellent products that help to improve people’s lives. In this process, focus and priorities are the keys to success - which means that you should not only carefully plan for entering new territories, but also carefully consider when to stop - both are equally important. That is why in the past year we have decided to close some services, and integrated some others, making them features of existing products.
As a continuation of this process, we decided to close the music search service in China, turning our focus towards more influential products. In March 2009, we launched Google music search service in China, in cooperation with Top100 (Top100.cn), to provide Chinese users with free and legal high quality music. However, this product never became as influential as we expected, so we decided to redirect the resources to other products. Users can login and download their playlists before October 19, 2012. All staff will be relocated to other product teams.
We are never afraid of experimenting with bold, brave ideas, and will continue to do so in the future. We will continue to develop interesting new technologies with huge potential. Through more effective resource integration, we can focus more on creating world-changing products and bring a truly wonderful experience to the users.