Clicks drive boom in legal music downloads
By Joy Lu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-21 06:11
Cash strapped teenagers are topping up their music collections with cheap
legal downloads, as online music outstrips CD sales.
A rash of copyrighted music download websites have launched in China over the
past few months, offering rapid access to the latest pop hits for around one
yuan (13 US cents) per song.
Of course Internet search engines can still pick up illegal free download
sites, but all the talk of intellectual property rights (IPR) makes some people
feel guilty about stealing music online.
Instead of breaking the law they can now visit legal sites such as top100.cn,
which boasts a million-song catalogue.
Browsers might be looking for Taiwan heartthrob Wong Leehom, for example. And
sure enough, he's there, with his latest album, "Heroes of Earth."
And here lies the new media's real selling point the entire album can be
downloaded for 10 yuan (US$1.25), opposed to about 40 yuan (US$5) to buy the CD.
A number of copyrighted music download websites, which buy songs from record
labels in the hope of targeting the mainstream market, have set up shops since
late last year.
MP3 maker Huaqi Information Digital Technology opened aigomusic.com in
October; established music website 9sky was re-launched in January; and
newcomers A8.com and top100.cn joined the race in March.
Tencent, which runs the popular QQ online chatting service, is also testing
the waters before launching its own music download service.
The excitement over Internet music distribution is hardly
surprising with Apple's iTunes setting the pace overseas. International
Federation of Phonographic Industry (IFPI) figures show that global digital
sales almost tripled last year to US$1.1 billion compared to 2004, accounting
for 6 per cent of recording companies' revenue.