Friday, April 3, 2009
Free Downloads in China - Is It Fair?
So, it's the moment we have all been waiting for....FREE and LEGAL DOWNLOADS!!! But wait, it's only happening in China, darn it! Well, that is true folks, the music industry has ekked out a deal with Google to offer free, legal music downloads in China, but China alone. How have they been able to do this? Isn't the music industry the first industry to fight this kind of deal? I mean, look at PRS and Germany....Youtube had to pull videos of their website that is related to PRS and Germany because they haven't been able to negotiate the rates. Ruckus and other ad-supported models have failed because the cost to stream outweighs the ad revenue. But now we see that the music industry will take what they can get. In China, 99% of music is pirated. 99%! Can you believe that? Less that 1% of the population actually buy music. And China's legitimate music market accounts less that 1% of the global market. Not only will the music be free, but it will be of higher quality. China has a illegitimate download service already with a search engine called China Baidu but the music wasn't high quality. Google's market share in China as a search engine is much smaller than China Baidu. China Baidu has 60% of the market share in China. This partnership will help Google as well because Google will become more of a dominant force in China, as it is in the rest of the world. I just find it interesting because the music industry always seems to stress the importance of pay per stream models and royalties, yet, it will take ad-revenue money from free downloads in China. I also think that the more sales begin to decline in other parts of the world, the more the industry will begin to make deals like this one elsewhere. It won't happen in the US for awhile because our legitimate music market is much larger, but it may happen eventually if the market share gets smaller and smaller. Do you think this is fair though? Why should Americans be expected to pay when there is a deal such as this in China? Even me, as an artist, I believe artists should be compensated, but I also understand the consumer's needs as well. And I am reasonable when it comes to these kinds of things. I just find it very interesting that this model is out there. I think we will see more of this in the future.