A HUGE part of virtual China, whether via large or small screen, is about digital music. A *great* recent article in the online newsletter Knowledge@Wharton breaks down some of the basics for us. Key excerpts (but really, just go read it):
Digital music can be
divided into online music and mobile music; each broadcasts,
respectively, through the Internet and a mobile telecommunications
network. Online music is downloaded from the Internet to computers or
digital music players. Mobile music mostly targets cell phone ring
tones and "color ring back tones" — music downloaded for listening
while a caller waits for a call to be picked up. Another type of mobile
music developed recently is cell phone music — downloaded wirelessly
and played through software preinstalled in the phones. It remains to
be seen if there is a market for this new type of mobile music because
it is still at a test stage. The 2005 launches of digital music sites, including A8, Aigo Music,
Shangda’s EZ Pod, Top100.cn and Taile, marked the Internet music
publishing business’s first step in China.
China’s online music market has grown to between 10 billion and 20 billion yuan, and less than 1% of that is legal.
No more than 15 of China’s more than 7,000 online music sites are
legal, according to market researcher iResearch Consulting. Even among
the few legal sites, there are differences in their business models,
pricing strategies and how they split their revenues with their
partners. A8.com charges 0.5 yuan to 2 yuan to download a song and
offers a monthly plan for unlimited downloads for 20 yuan (15 yuan
during special promotional periods). Top100.cn charges 1 yuan, Aigo
0.99 yuan, and Taile 2 yuan to 5 yuan for a single track download.
Link (the site also has links to simplified and traditional Chinese versions of the article) (via China Net Investor)