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Intrigue In The Chinese Digital Music Industry : What Exactly Is Happening on July 1st?

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Image credit: Sohu

Something is afoot in the Chinese digital music space. At the end of last year we saw a number of major music services including QQ Music, Baidu Music, Kugou and Duomi - having apparently reached a private agreement - publicly announce [UPDATE 9th June 2013: They did not make a public announcement] start moving towards charging for their music services in the very near future (a Dec 31st 2012 deadline was mentioned but evidently not adhered to).

Fast forward to March 19th and an announcement from famous music composer, producer and TV talent judge, Gao Xiaosong, that July 1st was now the big date for the change and that “various record labels, music websites and the government are all doing the tail-end of the work. The Chinese online music market will step into an era of legal copies.”

The SPs initially took a “this is news to us” (Chinese article) approach, which then developed slowly into some kind of recognition of the situation. The assumption is that, as the new boss of a well funded music label, Gao Xiaosong tried to force the hands of the SPs by announcing early and putting pressure on people to actually deliver. He is also not shy of publicity either, it is worth noting.

Since then, rumours have been flying around the Chinese internet. Long time observers of the Chinese digital music landscape will be a little wary of any silver bullet solutions and supposed “deadlines”, having seen countless such announcements before, but there seems to be more convergence at play this time round. July 1st may not be the world changing event some have suggested, but broadly implemented paid-for music services now seem to be an inevitability in China.

With that in mind, we will be keeping a close eye on this story. As a primer for new-comers to the situation we have translated this recent round-up article from China Economic Weekly (via Sohu) for your reading pleasure:

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6China, China Digital Music, China Music Industry, Medium, Translation, News Link,

News Link : QQ Music Activate Hardware Strategy With Sonos Partnership

"Chinese Internet giant Tencent is trying out a new hardware strategy for its QQ Music service, starting with a collaboration with wireless music system Sonos.

Sina Tech has noticed a new teaser page at Faxian.51buy.com for a QQ Music-compatible Sonos setup. Late last year, Tencent’s digital music team announced its vision to expand its music service to dedicated music hardware through its QPlay standard. The company has reportedly partnered with ten audio equipment and TV manufacturers, including DENONMarantz and TCL.

QQ music boasts an impressive 250 million active PC users and 50 million mobile users. By comparison, Spotify recently announced it has 24 million active users.”

- NextWeb

6China Music Industry, China Digital Music, China, News Link, China Hardware,

News Link : China Hopes To Duplicate World’s Music Profits

"According to the 2012 Report on Chinese Pop Music Market released by the China Record Working Committee, "the physical market has practically disappeared, while the new digital music market has not given record companies their due shares The traditional recording industry is in great depression."

The report says that the revenue of physical format sales in China has declined 95 percent,from 1.22 billion yuan ($196 million) in 2003 to 60 million yuan in 2010, the latest available statistics.

"The problem with the Chinese recording industry is that the cost of piracy is too low while thatof protecting copyright is too high," says Zang Yanbin, president of China Record Working Committee. "That’s why capital is reluctant to enter the industry and no good works are coming out."

The Chinese digital music market amounted to 1.26 billion yuan in 2011, with 280 billion units downloaded and streamed. The China Record Working Committee contends that music copyright owners should get royalty of 632 million yuan, but the actual income was only 99 million yuan due to piracy, lack of a fair system of profit distribution, and inefficiency of the collecting agencies.”

- China Daily

6China, News Link, China Music Industry, China Digital Music, China Physical,

News Link : Samsung Tops China Smartphone Market

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Samsung’s rise in China was at the expense of rival phone maker Nokia. The Finnish phone maker, which was No. 1 in 2011 with 29.9 percent market share, plunged to 3.7 percent last year to take seventh place, according to the research.

The No. 2 smartphone brand in China for 2012 was PC maker Lenovo, with 13.2 percent market share, which represented a 4 percent growth from the year before. Apple was third with 11 percent, followed by Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer Huawei with 9.9 percent, the report said.

- ZDNet

6China, China Smartphones, News Link, China Mobile Market,

News Link : New Youtube Asia Pop Channel

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"YouTube has just launched a devoted Asia Pop channel that will showcase the hottest pop music across the region – and give fans a chance to scream deliriously at their idols via Google+ Hangouts.”

- TechInAsia

6News Link, Quote, Asia Pop, Online Music Videos,

China Set To Become World’s Largest Smartphone Market This Month According To Flurry

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"Based on data from more than 275k mobile apps using its tools, Flurry estimates that in January, there were 222m active iOS and Android smartphones and tablets in the US, and 221m in China – but that by the end of this month, there’ll be 246m in China and 230m in the US.” Music Ally

6China Mobile Market, News Link, China, China Smartphones,

CNN Cover Beijing’s Rock Scene

Modern Sky Announce Strawberry Festival

Beijing indie label Modern Sky have announced a new folksy-style event called the "Strawberry Festival" in the Chinese media (Chinese links here, here and on the Modern Sky website). Details are still a little vague but available information so far suggests three stages and 60 bands to be spread over the 1st-3rd of May at the Tongzhou Canal Park in Beijing. Everything else TBC.

Modern Sky boss Shen Lihui says that "compared with the enthusiasm of the Modern Sky Festival, the Strawberry Festival will have a warmer tone….the park will be your pleasure ground".

Organisers also suggest it will be the "biggest music festival in Beijing during the May holidays" and that the Modern Sky main festival will go ahead in October as well.

6China Music Scene, China Festivals, News Link, China,

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