The new venture will make available EMI Group PLC’s Chinese pop music by performers from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

There is also talk that the alliance might result in free downloads for Baidu users.

Commanding more than 60 percent of the Chinese online search biz, Baidu has been beefing up its entertainment content. In October the company closed a deal with Viacom’s MTV Network to provide music videos and other content to its customers.

Both Baidu and EMI hope the new venture will cut down on music piracy in China by creating a legitimate source for online music. A joint statement issued by both companies indicated that the new music venture will be advertisement-driven.

AOL & Napster Sitting In A Tree…

Looking to boost its subscription rolls, Napster has cut a deal with AOL making the online music store the sole purveyor of music downloads for the online service company.

When it comes to highly recognizable online brands, you would be hard-pressed to find two names that are better known than Napster and AOL.

However, much of Napster’s name recognition comes from its original incarnation as the first peer-to-peer music trading network. As a legitimate music download service, Napster has had to compete with another, highly recognizable online brand – iTunes. You can probably guess how that has worked out.

The Napster / AOL deal means that users of AOL’s current music download service – AOL Music Now – will become Napster subscribers. According to Bloomberg News, Napster had about 566,000 subscribers at the close of 2006. Add in the 350,000 paid AOL Music Now subscribers and you almost imagine the sound of champagne corks popping at Napster HQ.

Both companies say they will try to make the transition to Napster as painless as possible. Customers’ settings, including playlists and personal Music Now libraries, will migrate to Napster. Napster will also retain Music Now’s current pricing tiers and honor any unused music credits customers may have accrued through Music Now.

“We are pleased to provide our subscribers the opportunity to seamlessly transition to Napster, which will become the only music subscription service integrated into AOL Music,” AOL Entertainment VP Mike Rich said. “Music Now subscribers can look forward to enjoying a world-class music experience from Napster.”