China Music Business » Whack-A-Mole: A Brief History of Music Piracy in China f

The always excellent Eric Priest guides us through the causes of, and struggle against, music piracy in China. Subscribe to our China Music Business site for more articles on the inner workings of the Chinese music industry.

6Project Blog, Medium, Copyright, Piracy,

Outdustry’s Ed Peto confirmed for a panel at Great Escape in Brighton, UK, May 8th. Some big names on there…..and Ed.


We talk a lot about exporting our music to emerging markets, but what about scouting those territories for exciting new music talent? A&R legend Seymour Stein has been doing just that – in China, India and beyond – and now he shares his experiences to date, while considering the challenges and opportunities for working with the music community in these regions with Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne and Outdustry’s Ed Peto. The Evening Standard’s David Smyth asks the questions.

6Project Blog, Events, Medium, Ed Peto,

BAM! We have just announced the first official China releases for The xx albums on CD.
xx (BCYT080CD)
Coexist (BCYT031CD)
On all good Chinese e-commerce sites as of April 20th. In several hundred physical stores around China in the weeks following that. 
Canon PowerShot SX170 IS
Focal Length

BAM! We have just announced the first official China releases for The xx albums on CD.

  • xx (BCYT080CD)
  • Coexist (BCYT031CD)

On all good Chinese e-commerce sites as of April 20th. In several hundred physical stores around China in the weeks following that. 

6Project Blog, Beggars China, Client Work, Medium, Label Services,

Outdustry’s Ed Peto pontificating at the excellent Electronic Music Conference in Sydney, December 2013.

6staff blog, medium,

China Music Business

We have just launched our own China music industry analysis site under the brilliant name of ‘China Music Business’. We aim to publish an article every month or so from a range of China music industry experts and insiders. This month sees a contribution from Outdustry boss, Ed Peto, covering the state of play in the Chinese digital music market. Please sign up, bookmark, RSS, follow, tweet etc.

China Music Business will also be our platform for general China market intelligence, reports, introductions, market visits. More info here.

6China Digital Music, Project Blog, Medium,

Beggars/4AD : Efterklang's Casper Clausen talks sampling China and horse-head fiddles with Ajinai's Hugjiltu f

First Asia panel at #EMC2013. Outdustry’s turn tomorrow morning. Great conference. #t #f #od

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

Electronic Music Conference (Sydney, Australia)


Outdustry’s Ed Peto will be dropping by the Electronic Music Conference (EMC) in Sydney next week to appear on an ‘Asia in Focus' panel. Will possibly be drinking some VBs while there as well. Feel free to get in touch if you're in town: ed.peto [at] outdustry {dot} com.

Program here. Tickets here.

6staff blog, events, Ed Peto, Medium,

Farewell #Outdustry Officebot! It’s been emotional. #britishseapower #od #t #f @BSPOfficial

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

China Digital Music Market Profile (Music Ally)

The following China digital music market profile - featuring a cameo from Outdustry’s Ed Peto - appeared in last week’s fortnightly Music Ally Report (highly recommended reading) and is republished here with permission.

New premium digital services bring hope in one of the world’s toughest music markets.

According to IFPI, recorded music sales in China totalled $92.4m (CNY 583.3m) in trade value in 2012 – a 35% increase from the $68.2m reported the year before, positioning the country at number 20 in the global rankings.

Digital saw a 49.8% increase to $75.5m, offsetting a 5.1% decline in physical sales to $16.9m and the market is split 82%/18% in favour of digital. Ads constitute the most significant revenue stream, accounting for 27% of overall recorded music sales, followed by mobile formats with 21%.

The fact that China still brings in under $100m in annual recorded music trade revenues remains a harsh reality, particularly given all the potential that has been attributed for years to the world’s most populated country, which grew its population to 1.35bn in 2012, and at the same time expanded its GDP by 7.8% to $8.26tr, as per CIA World Factbook data.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that Chinese consumers’ annual expenditure on mobile music, dominated by ringback tones, is actually estimated at $2bn. The problem is that mobile operators are known for taking the vast majority of revenues, sharing only 2-4% of retail value with rightsholders. With over 730m subscribers, China Mobile is the leading operator in the country, followed by China Unicom (239m) and China Telecom (170m).

China is infamous for its rampant levels of piracy, which the IIPA estimates at 95% in the case of physical formats and 99% for digital ones. Indeed, one of the biggest problems for the local industry is that Chinese consumers widely expect music to be free or extremely cheap. This is particularly so in the online sector where companies such as Baidu and Tencent have grown to be the titans they are today thanks in no small part to the provision of deep-linked downloads to unlicensed MP3s.

It was welcome news when, last April, composer, producer and TV talent judge Gao Xiaosong said that, as of 1st July this year, “the Chinese online music market will step into an era of legal copies”. Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the national Copyright Administration of China, described the launch of paid services as “inevitable”.

Details on how this will be approached are rather limited, but services including Baidu Music, Kugou and Duomi have been testing “VIP” tiers, focused on the provision of higher quality audio and increased mobility, with pricing expected to be set in the range of $1-3 per month. Of particular interest is the fact that companies seem to be exploring the possibility of adding a live element, such as bundling priority access to gigs and festivals.

The final proposition/pricing for the new services remains unclear – and so are the implications for the industry. Ed Peto, MD of Outdustry (a company which specialises in helping Western companies to enter the Chinese music market) told Music Ally, “Most services are fairly cautious about the take-up projections for these premium tiers as there is very little precedent for people paying for music in this way.”

Perhaps more importantly, Chinese online companies have a long history of periodically introducing features or cutting minor deals with a few rightsholders in order to claim legitimacy while still conducting the vast majority of their music business on a basis of unlicensed content. “Whether they will do the bare minimum to satisfy contracts with content providers or really put all their efforts into converting users into paying subscribers remains to be seen,” stressed Peto.

Also of note is the acquisition of streaming music service Xiami by e-commerce giant Alibaba, which will see the former integrated with the hugely-popular online shopping site Taobao. In a country where monetising recorded music remains as challenging as ever for rightsholders, it is interesting to see a different approach to bundling – somewhat echoing the apparent intention of the likes of Baidu for attaching a live element to their new premium services.

6China, China Digital Music, China Music Industry, Guest Post, Statistics, China Physical, China Mobile Market, Medium,

#Aerosmith in #Singapore with the #MusicMatters conference team. #matterstome #od #t #f #StevenTyler #JoePerry

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

And now for some real music. #londonsouls at Beer Market. Dirty two piece blues. Highly recommended. #musicmatters #matterstome #singapore #od #f #t

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

M.I.B #kpop at #musicmatters #singapore. Korea knows how to manufacture pop properly! #matterstome #od #t #f

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

@williambaobean telling it how it is in #chinamusicindustry at #musicmatters #singapore #od #t #f

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,

Outdustry client Simon Wheeler from #beggars, talking about #metadata and #branding for #BeggarsChina project: “This is the first time we have had to deal with some of these issues” #musicmatters #singapore #od #t #f #outdustry

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog,