Who can carry a tune?

By Chen Nan, Yang Yang ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-07-15 15:15:09

Who can carry a tune?

Wang Xiaoying/China Daily

As regulators clamp down on unlicenced use of songs online, insiders wonder if the move can still salvage China's music industry, Yang Yang and Chen Nan report.

By July 31, online music delivery platforms must have all unauthorized musical works removed, and that recent notice from the National Copyright Administration is being welcomed by the music industry.

The new administrative regulation comes in the wake of disputes between the leading online music-delivery platforms, including and, who sued each other for infringing copyrights. In late May, sued for infringing the copyrights of 260 songs the former purchased from the Rock Records; one month later, sued for infringing its copyrights of 456 songs.

In April, FM apps Qingting FM and Lizhi FM were temporarily removed from Apple's App Store due to complaints of copyright infringement.

As a matter of fact, the supervision of online music-delivery platforms is the focus of the copyright authority for 2015, especially concerning infringement of copyrights and piracy.

"Undoubtedly, the new notice is a very good move by the government to regulate the online music delivery platforms, which will do good for the general music industry," says Guo Biao, China's chief representative for London-based International Federation of Phonographic Industry.

For ages, China's music industry has been suffering from piracy, whether it was in the age of tapes, CDs, or later the most flagrant-the Internet, which for many Chinese people means one can use anything online for free.

In many cases, even if a song is extremely popular online and one can hear it broadcast everywhere, such as in shopping malls, restaurants and barbershops, the songwriters may get very little for his or her creation.

China has the largest population of music listeners online, and is the country where musical works have been downloaded the most in the world.

By the end of 2014, there were more than 478 million online music users in China, and in the coming two to three years, the number will surpass 600 million. Now on average, Chinese download 200 million times every day, and the number for a year in the coming years will surpass 100 billion, according to official statistics.

The market value for China's paid-for online music is expected to exceed 10 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), but now the revenues for China's paid-for online music only total about 400 million yuan.

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