Google Music allows free downloads of MP3s from international artists as well as many Chinese artists. This is completely legal and sanctioned by the record industry. The catch is you have to be in Shenzhen, China to get this to work. We have tried this in Hong Kong and though you can view the pages the download links are not active.
It seems the record industry has given up on trying to sell music in China so they came up with an agreement with Google to allow for downloading of MP3 files in exchange for showing advertising at the point of download.
The interface is all in Chinese so you have to have some basic understanding to figure out where to download but it is very easy to learn. Below we have attached a couple screen shots to explain how to navigate the interface.
We tested the service to see what was available. Unfortunately I tried to search for the group Pink Martini and i only got one song. There are other artists such as Ke$sha that have more songs listed but not many available for download. Also if you do find a whole album that is available you will have to download each song one by one s there is no batch download.
We searched for songs or artists relating to Shenzhen we only found about 10 songs related to Shenzhen. Chen Chusheng (陈楚生) is a well-known male singer throughout China. Before he became famous, he used to be a bar singer at True Color and some other local bars. He spent many years in Shenzhen. Hence, people reckon that he is a singer from Shenzhen even though he was not born in Shenzhen.
Popular artists/songs you might want to downlaod now:
Black Eyed Peas
So the next time you are at Club Viva and hear a song you like pull out your iPhone Shazam program to find out the name and when you recover from your hang over look it up on Google Music. Finally one advantage to using the Chinese Internet.