I never understood the fuss about Google’s new music service “Google Music”. If you read the papers and blogs out there, Google Music might break Apple’s monopoly, kill iTunes and finally offer consumers a compelling alternative apart from Apple. Ok, listen guys: Google Music has been around for more than five years – in China. And it’s totally FREE and LEGAL!
Free? Legal? Yes, both! But how? Well, it seems the music industry hasn’t figured out how to make money in China. And it’s not hard to see why. Just walk down the street in Dongmen, a busy local shopping street in Shenzhen. You will be inundated by street sellers shouting “DVD, DVD”. If you don’t like the street sellers, just pop in one of the countless shops selling DVDs and CDs. A double CD album is around 20 to 30 RMB, sometimes even cheaper. Most foreigners I spoke to love it and buy tons of CDs to rip them on their hard drive. But why bother? Just go on http://music.google.cn (only works in Mainland China) and download your song free of charge or stream it. Why is it free? Well, the story goes that Google went to the big labels and told them: “You won’t make money in China anyway. Why don’t you let us give your songs away for free and you’ll get part of the advertising revenue?” It seems the choice between making no money and very little money wasn’t too difficult…..
So how does Google Music work? Easy – just follow the steps below.
1) As mentioned above, the service is limited to Mainland China. It won’t work in Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macau. Open your browser and enter – http://music.google.cn Enter the band or song name in the field on top, then press enter.
2) You will now see the search results. I searched for “Queen” and that’s what came up in the result page. The first column shows the song names, the second is the band name and the third the album. As I’m interested in songs of Queen I click the second column.
3) Now it’s all about Queen. I want to download the song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. All I do is to click the download button (see red circle below).
4) A window pops up and I click on the green download field.
5) Done. My song is being downloaded. 10 seconds later it’s in my downloads folder.
So if you hear people getting excited about Google Music in the future – it’s been in China for a while. No reason to get wet pants….