Beijing-based Web portal Baidu and independent Taipei-based label Rock Records are launching an advertising-supported online music streaming service in China.

Baidu users will be able to listen to songs from Rock's catalog free of charge while ads are displayed on the portal. At press time it was not known exactly when the service would begin.

Baidu, which has been the target of legal action by the IFPI due to its practice of providing "deep links" to unauthorized file-sharing sites, signed a similar deal with EMI Music in January.

"This partnership ... reflects growing industry recognition of the advertising-supported free music streaming model," said Baidu chairman/CEO Robin Li in a July 4 statement announcing the deal. "Advertising-supported music provides more listening options for Internet users and gives online advertisers a powerful marketing platform."

Commented Rock founder Sam Duann: "By leveraging Baidu's leading position in the Chinese-language search market and its premier digital music platform, this partnership will bring value to music lovers, record companies and advertisers alike."

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