Leslie Chong is a J.D. Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School
Google has launched a new music service that aims to curtail music piracy in India. By teaming up with three digital music providers who represent a large portion of Indian performers, Google’s services will direct internet users to free yet legitimate content for streaming. While there has always been a demand for music in India, “piracy, in the form of knock-off CDs and dozens of websites peddling illegal downloads, has stunted the Indian market, analysts say. Total Indian music industry revenue was about $165 million in 2009, a fraction of the $26.4 billion spent on recorded music globally,” according to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
This attempt to end music piracy comes a year after Google initially paired with “a bevy of music services [like] imeem, Lala, MySpace’s recently-acquired iLike, Pandora and Rhapsody” to create Google’s One Box music service in the United States. This music search engine model, which allows users to hear an entire track for free once through one of the music service providers, is being used in India to divert users from pirated music in an attempt to boost their ailing entertainment industry. Despite piracy, “India’s domestic music market is expected to grow to $590 million by 2014” and Google’s music service may increase this growth if successfully implemented. However, Google’s endeavors through the Music India service has a number of drawbacks that must be addressed in order to effectively curb online music piracy in the future.