Several of China’s major online music websites have shifted from free, to a fee-based model for music downloads. According to Chinese news service Sina, major labels including Universal, Sony, and Warner Music pressured Chinese music sites, including Baidu Music, Cool Music, and Xiami.com to shift to a pay model with a deadline of June 5th.
Kugou.comm a popular online music provider launched a new version of their website, which charges for downloads, while streamed music remains free.
“We launched two new versions, a gold version and a diamond version. The gold version charges each customer for five yuan a month with 150 pieces of lossless music with the bit rate of 320 kbps, which provides music services of higher quality for our customers,” Wu Qiaosi, vice president of Kugou.com told China Central Television.
Another music website, Xiami.com, started charging 0.8 yuan (about 13 cents) per song, and also rolled out premium features for their paid service.
It remains to be seen how many Chinese consumers will make the transition to pay-based services after being long accustomed to downloading and listening to free music, or if they will instead resort to less well-know websites that are still offering free music. - via CelebrityAccess