February 10, 2005
Apple + Universal Music + China = 'Ka-Ching'
What is the sound of billions of Renminbi pouring into Apple's coffers?
Apple and Universal Music have just announced that they're going to sell Chinese-language pop songs on iTunes stores in 15 countries, including the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
The launch coincided with the onset of the
Chinese lunar new year Tuesday.
There are huge numbers of overseas Chinese, who are expected to make this new venture a roaring success.
I consider it the proverbial camel's nose under the unbelievably capacious Chinese tent.
Oh, man: 1.3 billion Chinese in China proper, ready to visit the Chinese iTunes store once it opens.
Look for it sooner rather than later.
Apple is rolling.
Here's Malini Guha's story, which appeared in this past Sunday's Financial Times.
- Universal and Apple Sell Chinese Pop Online
Apple and Universal Music are expanding their range to online music consumers by selling Chinese-language pop music for the first time in North America and Europe.
More than 1,000 tracks by top Chinese artists on the books of Universal, the world's biggest record company, including Jacky Cheung, Kelly Chen, Hacken Lee and Alan Tam, will be available from Apple's iTunes stores in 15 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.
Universal says it is the first time this range of Chinese music will be legally available online outside its region of origin.
The move represents Universal's faith in the continuing growth of the legal download market.
The launch, to coincide with the Chinese lunar new year on Tuesday, is aimed especially at the big overseas Chinese population, which has been able to access the music in physical form only through a limited number of specialist retailers.
Apple's online store, whose growth has been stimulated by the iPod digital music player, has so far dominated the legal download market.
But it faces increasing competition from a number of entrants to the fast-growing market.
Napster, one of Apple's main competitors, last week launched the first portable subscription service that could pose a significant challenge.
Napster's service will allow subscribers to download an unlimited number of songs and play them on compatible digital music players for a monthly fee.
Apple does not offer a subscription service and songs downloaded from iTunes can be played only on its iPods.
Universal said it expected eventually to deliver its Chinese repertoire to other online services.
February 10, 2005 at 11:01 AM | Permalink
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