BEIJING - China's Ministry of Culture has ordered domestic websites to stop providing playback and download services of 100 overseas songs that have failed to go through "official approval procedures."
"The websites are ordered to clean up the music products because the products have not gone through official approval procedures, but it does not mean the songs are banned because of their content," an unnamed official with the ministry told Xinhua on Saturday.
The official made the remarks in response to doubts from fans and media that the songs, including those by Lady Gaga and Owl City, might be banned for containing sensitive or offensive lyrics.
In China, websites must be licensed by the government before offering online music services, and imported music products must be approved by the ministry before entering the market.
According to the ministry, the country's search engines and websites were urged to check and "immediately cancel" all services related to these songs by Sept 15, or they will face punishment.
Previously, the ministry has already ordered websites to stop featuring 200 songs that include "Cold Wind Blows" by Eminem, "Push That Knot Away" by KT Tunstall and "Grenade" by Bruno Mars for similar reasons.
"The ministry will continue to clean up online music products that fail to receive official approval in a bid to regulate our country's online music market," the official said.