Friday, February 24, 2006

Want to listen to popular Chinese music?

Want to listen to popular Chinese music?

Here is a little instruction on how to download songs from Baidu, the popular Chinese search engine. If you don't know any artist or songs, you can go for the 'top 500 songs' or 'top 200 artists'.

In my instruction I will download a song of 王菲 [Wang2Fei1], a singer from HK, also known as Faye Wong.

1) Go to www.baidu.com
2) Click on 'MP3'
3) Click on "歌手TOP200".
(歌手 [ge1 shou3] means singer)
4) Find 王菲 and click on the link.
(She was ranked 18th most popular when I did this search.)
5) Choose a song to download, for example , 寓言, 将爱, 闷 or perhaps 天空.
(The size of the file should be 3-5 Mb for the quality to be alright. There are also other file formats to choose from if you want something other then MP3)
6) You know end up on a page where there is a link to the file (请点击此链接: Click on this link). Save it (by for example right click and choose "Save Link As..." or by just clicking it)

Quite often the link is not updated or the connection too slow. In that case the download will give an error or time out. If you don't succeed, just try another link. Since the connection to China is generally very slow, some patience is required. Since the songs are stored on individuals servers, there is no guarantee that the quality is good or even that it is the right song. It still works remarkably well, and I'm able to get what I want, when I want it. If I do want it, is another question.

If you are interested in learning the language it might be of interest to download the lyrics as well. Baidu is providing that service as well. Next to the song you want to download (step 5), you can find 歌词 [ge1 ci2] (lyrics). Click on it.

I think this service is a big reason that Baidu is attracting more users than Google in China. This (and all the pirated CDs) probably makes it very difficult for any artist or record company to make any money from music sales on the mainland. That might be a reason why most Chinese language artists still comes from HK, Taiwan, and Singapore.

A fun little detail is, when you get the link to the file, there's a small disclaimer underneath, for example: 百度高度重视知识产权保护. "Baidu is in a very high degree respecting the protection of intellectual property". Yeah right. But hey, who am I to complain? :)
I don't think anyone mind if a white dude use them as study material and to improve my 卡拉OK功夫. I don't think those artists count on a big sale here anyway. I wonder how long Baidu will get away with thits if they try to make a presens abroad, as they hope.

Any suggestions of Chinese songs or artists are appreciated!

5 comments:

Mikke said...

Another good one is

www.youtube.com

They have Wong Fei, Jolin, A-Mei, Gigi Leung and many others with both Music and Video.

Can strongly recommend

Richard.H said...

I guess you are right, we can download pretty much most popular songs from there.

But, I still can't it a good thing or not.

Johan said...

Richard:
I thought every Chinese knew about that.

Anonymous said...

I used to download songs from Baidu before. Now I just don't know what songs are new and popular in China....

As I can recall, there is somewhere in Baidu noticing people that you should remove those downloaded free songs from your computer within 24 or 36 hours. I cant remember the exact number now.

- ABAS

Johan said...

I think the toplists should be fairly representative of what is popular. I'm not sure how they compile them, but I would guess it would be after number of downloads.

They can say whatever they want, that time should make no difference in the legality of this.