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Google Team With Yao Ming For Free Music Service in China

August 6, 2008 10:48 AM ET

Google and Houston Rockets' star center Yao Ming have teamed up to launch a new music service in China that will allow users to freely download licensed songs. China is already rife with music piracy, so Google figures that if people are gonna get their music for free, might as well make some ad revenue off, which the site will share with the music industry. Google linked up with Top100.cn, a site co-founded by basketball star Ming, to allow users to search and download thousands of artists and songs. As advertised on the website, you can now download Kelis' The Hits, Deep Forest and 酷玩乐队, which is evidently Coldplay in Chinese. "The Internet industry should by no means stand in the opposite camp against the music industry," Google China President Kai-fu Lee said. While it seems Google rules the world in our hemisphere, the search engine is a distant number two to Baidu.com in China, and as China has more internet users than any other country in the world, Google hopes Top100.cn will help tip the scales.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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