Here behind ‘The Great Firewall’, in a completely enclosed internet, the Chinese digital music industry can often feel somewhat cut off from its Western counterparts – unrelated industry narratives running in parallel, ne’er to overlap. It is a rare and curious thing, therefore, for the PRC to be part of a global story, as it is, somewhat surprisingly, in the current ‘Taylor Swift vs Free Music’ intrigue.
The story of Taylor Swift withdrawing her catalogue from Spotify – due to the conflict between her belief that “music should not be free” and the freemium streaming service’s insistence her new album 1989 be made available on their free tier – is now dominating Western industry news, immediately becoming a defining debate for the still fledgling music streaming economy. This seems far removed from the Chinese market, where free, frictionless consumption of digital music is almost a basic consumer right.
>> Ed Peto & Alex Taggart, Beijing