Google Aims to Curtail Indian Music Piracy

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.

  1. The only problem I see in this service Google is offering in India is the cultural and sociological diversity within the country itself. Musical piracy is a chief concern and Google is taking a proactive step in combatting it but will most people be drawn to Google’s music service? In addition, will the existing methods of piracy currently in use in India combat these music services?

  2. This is a very interesting post. Search engines play a big role in the music industry and it’s no doubt that their involvements will only expand. Although whether Google’s efforts will help decrease digital music piracy remains to be seen, it is satisfying to see increasing legal alternatives as sources for music such that illegal downloads will no longer be the first choice of reach.

  3. It is also interesting that Google has set up a similar music service in China back in 2008, where music copyright infringement has been regarded as one of the highest in the world. Yet, dependent music services such as this hasn’t really surfaced or promoted in Canada. It’ll be interesting to see how or if Google adopts a different music model to feed the North American musical needs.

  4. This is good effort on Google’s part, but will it be effective? It seems the site offers previews, and these people are looking to download this music. It reminds me of Itunes, people can buy the music for cheap, but how many do? This might be the first stop to see if the song is worth downloading, but I don’t see it stopping piracy.

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