China music industry want to take a 70% revenue cut from digital music sales, although the paid download campaign is still in vain. As reported, major online music services, including QQ Music, Baidu Music, Duomi, Kuwo and Kugoo, joined in a move initiated by the music industry, planning to charge for all legitimate digi-music downloads from the end of this year. Now industry people say it’s even hard to have an agreed starting time. And they know it won’t work out even if only one well-recognized service decide not to do so.

The industry also want a decent revenue sharing ratio. According to Song Ke, founder and former CEO of Taihe Rye Music, music content providers could only take a 2 – 3% revenue share with online music services. The industry as a whole have little bargaining power for 1) established third-party platforms have huge audiences they cannot ignore; 2) to some platforms, music is just for enhancing user stickiness but not a revenue driver; 3) seldom labels has a music inventory big enough to threaten the third-party services– Song Ke thinks it should be over 20%.

It is said big players, such as the Big Four labels, get bigger cuts, but not big enough.The industry’s vain hope is a 70% revenue cut. Song Ke thinks 40% is the bottom line to “sustain the music (industry)” , hoping for a 50/50 split. That’s the ratio China Mobile, the carrier who created the ringtone download business and made big money from it in 2G times, shared with content providers like Taihe Rye.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com