The global music industry hopes to tap into the revenue streams in Asia, writes the Hollywood Reporter, But VC William Bao Bean does not give them a lot of hope to make a buck in China as the country has no tradition of paying for the usage of music products. The Hollywood Reporter:
While the Chinese music market appears to be vast, one speaker estimated that nearly 100% of online consumption is unlicensed. William Bao Bean, partner at the Softbank China & India fund, described a China market financially dominated by caller ringback tones — the music clips that mobile subscribers use to entertain their callers before they pick up. That market, in turn, is dominated by China Mobile and a handful of wireless service providers, with very little revenue trickling back to music labels and artists, though 3G services and new competition from rival carriers could improve the outlook for service providers.
“Paid download and streaming models will die in China, if they haven’t already done so,” Bao Bean said, though he also pointed to the curiosity of an enduring physical disc market in China. That he explained by suggesting China’s car-driving population is not yet used to plugging in MP3 players.