Perhaps fittingly, seeing as Xiami was founded by former Alibaba systems engineers, Chinese online giant Alibaba announced on January 11 that it had acquired streaming music juggernaut Xiami. Xiami, known colloquially as the “Spotify of China” is a grey-market service hosting millions of songs and albums, all available for free streaming over the Chinese Internet. The service is available worldwide but from our personal experience, it is much faster in China (off VPN). It is also one of the more problematic services floating around, having never fully verified how all the songs in its service are licensed and how artists and labels are compensated. Writing in China tech blog Technode, Ben Chiang puts forth the theory that the acquisition by Alibaba is Xiami’s tacit acknowledgement of the Chinese online music sphere’s move towards copywritten content and need for a company with Alibaba’s coffers to aid them in the royalty payments. We’re inclined to agree with this sentiment, though as with everything, the proof is in the pudding.
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