I spent some time in Shenzhen and tried the Google Music China service. It was unlike anything else I have seen and was designed especially for consumers in mainland China.
Google Music China is impressive in terms of the size of its catalogue and ease-of-use. You have a mix of western artists and Chinese artists on the service. There didn’t seem to be a lot of censorship going on. You could download the full expletive riven Eminem experience. The music is downloaded into your computer as MP3 files and doesn’t have any DRM on it. I put it into my iTunes library. The service is powered by a Chinese partner for Google, which becomes apparent when you look at the URL on the page for an individual track.
There didn’t seem to be a restriction on the amount of music that you could download. I got a mix of material from jazz to techno including a number of albums by The Jazz Messengers.
Much of the music seems to have been licensed through the US right holders of the music; such as this Astralwerks license for a Fat Boy Slim track below.
The service is free, in that I didn’t have to pay per track, or pay a subscription. Instead the music is ad funded with display ads as shown below.
I do wonder what the click through rates are on the adverts that periodically get vended on the service? More China-related content here.