UPDATE: thanks to Andy for pointing out Beijing Daze’s much better analysis of Baidu’s offering, namely that Google has had a somewhat better service in the China market for nearly 3 years. We covered the Google thing back in August 2008.
Baidu, China’s largest search engine, has reached a music licensing agreement with One-Stop China (OSC), a joint venture between Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG which will make over 500,000 songs in their catalogues available for free and legal download and streaming on Baidu’s music page and through the search engine company’s new social music venture, Baidu ting!
Within the agreement, Baidu will pay the artists’ and labels’ licensing fees, allowing China’s 450 million Internet users to stream and download these songs freely and legally, though with commercial interruption. A “pro” paid model with limited or no commercials is in the works, scheduled for release later in the fall.
It will be interesting to monitor what this means for the notoriety of foreign groups in China. Though many artists in the One-Stop joint venture already have ardent Chinese fans (Avril Lavigne and Lady Gaga come to mind), we wonder what this means for younger bands signed onto the major labels. San Francisco’s Cults, one of the most talked-about groups of 2011, went from deliberate Internet anonymity to signing with Columbia (a subsidiary of Sony BMG). It will be interesting to see how these labels will (or won’t) use this new platform to promote their diverse rosters.
Apparently, Damon Albarn is making the new Gorillaz album on his iPad, to be released around Christmas (if all goes well). You can read more about it HERE.
In China, there is a video that is in the process of going viral, done by Chinese band 大买麦乐团 (Maiyuetuan) that received over 200,000 hits in 2 days.
The video is popular for the following reasons (in our humble opinions):
They use massive hyperbole in the video title “XXX strongly recommends the first Chinese coolest ipad band, killing your eyeballs in the first sight, the craziest band in the history, their name is 大买麦乐团”
XXX, the recommender, is a famous Chinese producer
Using an iPad to play music is fresh
does anyone notice the incredible similarity to the Ting Tings, “that’s not my name”?
does anyone thing 5 people staring and tapping iPads is good live fodder?
does anyone doubt these guys will be fronting some brand event in the very near future?
There is a story that has been circulating for some time, regarding the ex-boss of China Mobile’s Music division, RMB400m (nearly US$60m) and flight.
So far, this article from no-holds barred HK based bilingual business magazine Caixin sums it up the best. According to them, Li Xiangdong went missing in March of this year, along with (it is estimated) RMB400m of cash. Mr. Li has been heading up the Sichuan Mobile Data Department as well as its Mobile Music Operations Centre, essentially the CRBT (Caller Ring Back Tone) department of China Mobile.
Summary: he has legged it with a massive amount of money.
How it happened will more than likely be the source of a big investigation, but this is the quote that we love:
It appears Li was not satisfied with his high-profile status as a key figure in developing the mobile music business in China. Instead, he allegedly used his lord-like power to control the service provider selection process and build a parasitic fiefdom.