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Baidu (NSDQ: BIDU) — which has come under fire for linking to illegal music downloads — is partnering with ad-supported music download service Qtrax to change that. The Chinese search engine says it will direct music-related search queries from its entertainment portal and music sites to Qtrax, when Qtrax has a track in its catalog. The deal is a coup for Qtrax, since Baidu dominates China’s search market and a substantial portion of its traffic comes from searches for MP3s.
Qtrax lets users download songs to their PCs for free and later move them to a portable device, although they need to be synced once a month. The company has had deals with all four major record labels since February.
Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has tried to challenge Baidu’s dominance in China with its own legal music download service, which it launched in partnership with the major labels in late March. With the Qtrax partnership, therefore, Baidu should now be able to claim somewhat of a comparable offering.