Music companies will have to rely on Chinese firms to publish content in market


China’s government has announced a clampdown on all foreign media publishers online… which just so happens to push rights-holders wanting to make money in the region towards striking deals with domestic digital platforms.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology’s mega-strict new law is going ahead, according to sources speaking to MBW from China, which will outlaw the publication of any video game or video, audio, article, map, art or literature by a foreign entity in China.

The rules come into effect in less than two weeks, on March 10.

However, Chinese companies are allowed to publish content online, so long as they are approved by Chinese authorities and have secured an online publishing license. Only 100% Chinese-owned companies will be given a publication permit.

Foreign news providers in the region, including Dow Jones, Bloomberg, the Financial Times and the New York Times, could be most dramatically affected by the changes according to Quartz.

[UPDATE]: A question mark surrounds what may happen to Apple Music as a result of the law; a direct publisher of content in China which is based overseas.

A number of music companies should see the effect on their in business in China minimized as they already have long-standing exclusive distribution deals in place with Chinese companies – effectively handing over control of what goes online and how.

Tencent represents the catalogues of the likes of Warner Music Group, Sony Music and Believe Digital, while Alibaba looks after BMG’s content.

Imagem has just confirmed a distribution deal for its rights with R2G in China – possibly accelerated by the announcement of the new local laws.

The laws have drawn harsh criticism from international media owners for attempting to censor publications in the digital era in a manner borrowed from China’s analogue age.

Despite a vast population in excess of 1.3 billion people piracy-riddled China is only the world’s 21st biggest recorded music market.

According to the IFPI, recorded music in China generated revenues worth around US $82.6m in 2013 – less than the likes of Denmark, Belgium and Mexico.Music Business Worldwide

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