I think any modern student of Chinese should be using Baidu’s MP3 search. With it, it’s possible to find a huge variety of MP3s on the internet, and it’s totally free! (Yes, the world’s loss regarding intellectual property rights in China can be your gain!) I can imagine, though, that for a beginning student of Chinese, an all-Chinese interface can be daunting. It is my aim to make it more accessible to the beginner.
Note: to use Baidu, your computer must support Chinese fonts. Baidu uses GB2312 encoding, which should be automatically detected by your browser, but the Chinese characters will only be readable if your computer supports them.
OK, let’s suppose you’re a total beginner. You’ve heard of this hot boy band called F4, and you figure it’s as good a place as any (plus you don’t have to actually use any Chinese to search for it!).
Go to Baidu.com.
Click on MP3 (or you could have gone to mp3.baidu.com directly).
Enter your search term in the box (in this case it’s “F4” without the quotes).
Choose your format. I only want MP3s, so I select the “MP3” radio button. (The choices, left to right, are: 歌词 (lyrics), 全部音乐 (all music files), mp3, rm (RealPlayer format), wma (Windows Media Player format), flash, 其它 (others), 铃声 (cell phone ringtones).)
Click on the button next to the search box, “百度搜索” (Baidu search). (For the future, when you do searches from the search results page, make sure you click on the left button. The right button will be “歌词搜索” (lyrics search).)
You will see a table of your search results. Below you will find a guide to interpreting this table:
- 歌曲名: Song Title (this name is linked to the MP3s you download)
- 试听: Listen First (uses Windows Media Player in a popup window)
- 歌词: Lyrics (very useful, especially for pop music, although not 100% reliable)
- 铃声: Cell Phone Ringtone
- 大小: Filesize (in megabytes)
- 格式: Format (MP3, WMA, etc.)
- 下载速度: Download Speed (especially if you’re outside of China, this may be important)
Right click on a title(choose from the 歌曲名/Song Title column) and “Save as“. There’s a good chance that you’ll want to change the filename, as they are often completely random or unhelpful.
Update: You now have to first left-click on the song title. A pop-up window will appear containing the URL to the MP3. Right-click on that to save.
That’s it! Also try out the lyrics search. You can click on 歌词 (lyrics) for any search result that has them. You can also search for lyrics directly, from the search results page. Click on the right button, “歌词搜索” (lyrics search).)
Note that the lyrics are not always 100% accurate. Most are submitted by users.
For other Sinosplice tutorials, click on the tutorial tag.