HONG KONG (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — EMI Music is reportedly launching an advertising-supported online music streaming service with China’s biggest Internet search engine, Baidu.com, capitalizing on the growth in digital music in the country.
The EMI-Baidu agreement comes as Asia is set to become the first region where digital music sales exceed physical product, according to Variety. The continent will see online music, as well as mobile services, dominate within the next 12-18 months, according to data collected by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The rest of the world is expected to follow by 2009.
PWC forecasts that digital music sales in Asia-Pacific will rise from $3.22 billion in 2005 to $9.35 billion in 2009. Physical sales in the region will tumble from $5.51 to only $2.2 billion at the same time.
Asia will account for over a third of global digital music revenues in 2009, by which time online and mobile will account for 60% of the world’s $45.9 billion music retail sales.
The EMI and Baidu deal represents the first revenue-sharing contract between an internet search engine and major music company in China. The companies will also develope advertising-supported music download services and set up EMI’s Typhoon Music catalog for free streaming to all Baidu users.
Robin Li, chairman and CEO of Baidu said the agreement creates “a new model for future ongoing digital music business development in the internet era.”
Norman Cheng, EMI Music Asia chairman and director of Typhoon Music, added, “The cooperation between Baidu and EMI also moves us towards jointly controlling digital piracy, something that is important to EMI in the Chinese digital music market.” –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers