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Apple adds 1,000+ Chinese tracks to 15 iTunes stores

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By Jeremy Horwitz

Editor-in-Chief, iLounge
Published: Sunday, February 6, 2005
News Categories: iTunes

“Apple and Universal Music are expanding their range to online music consumers by selling Chinese-language pop music for the first time in North America and Europe,” reports the Financial Times.

“More than 1,000 tracks by top Chinese artists on the books of Universal, the world’s biggest record company, including Jacky Cheung, Kelly Chen, Hacken Lee and Alan Tam, will be available from Apple’s iTunes stores in 15 countries, including the US, UK and Canada.

Universal says it is the first time this range of Chinese music will be legally available online outside its region of origin.”

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Comments

1

A great use for digital downloads as a distribution medium. Physical CDs weren’t going to provide this to such a wide audience.

Posted by Nagromme on February 7, 2005 at 12:18 AM (PDT)

2

I too think it’s a great idea. What a way to get a whole new customer base.

Posted by Boris34 on February 7, 2005 at 1:01 AM (PDT)

3

when r they gona be released?

Posted by klee1987 in UK on February 7, 2005 at 2:22 AM (PDT)

4

think they need to get iTMS available in the asia region to make this a two pronged attack - show the Chinese that their music is going ‘mainstream’ and get them interested in the whole iTMS concept for western music. hopefully ‘asia’ will also mean that australia get theirs soon as well smile 

Posted by yinyang on February 7, 2005 at 5:40 AM (PDT)

5

Is 2 Live Crew’s ‘Me So Horny’ one of these Chinese tracks?

Posted by mgbrown66 in USA on February 7, 2005 at 6:06 AM (PDT)

6

“Everybody was Kung Fu fighting” should be a big seller

Posted by Flatso on February 7, 2005 at 6:48 AM (PDT)

7

I’m sure that if the news was that iTMS added 1000 African music tracks or 1000 Latin tracks mgbrown66 and Flatso would come up with equally inappropriate comments.

Good show, guys.

Posted by deepfriedd on February 7, 2005 at 10:43 AM (PDT)

8

It’s about time that people from the west recognise the Asian culture and it’s people. For too long people, especially the Britians, have used and abused Asia   but now that has stopped and Chinese is about to be a force to be respected.

Posted by milk3pod in chicago, il on February 7, 2005 at 10:47 AM (PDT)

9

Not a big fan of Chinese pop music, but I’m eagerly awaiting the day k-pop and j-pop (Korean & Japanese pop) make it to the American iTunes store.

Posted by yyoo on February 7, 2005 at 12:24 PM (PDT)

10

I don’t know what deepfriedd is talking about.  I am a big fan of Chinese pop music.  Just the other day I downloaded a William Hung track from iTunes.

Lighten up. 

Posted by mgbrown66 in USA on February 7, 2005 at 1:24 PM (PDT)

11

:D

People need to lighten up.

BTW William Hung rocks!

Posted by minty on February 7, 2005 at 2:57 PM (PDT)

12

I didnt consider mgbrown66’s feedback sarcastic until he mentioned william hung…from the view point of the chinese audience, he is still as crappy as from the view point of most north american people.

Posted by frankthetank on February 7, 2005 at 4:47 PM (PDT)

13

I’m not a fan of Hong Kong Cantopop, either, but there are some Taiwanese artists that I like. Cantonese just isn’t pleasant to the ear. And while there are some artists who can actually sing, like Jacky Cheung, they are few and far between, with most artists just horrible—just horribly off key and with poor tone. And all the songs are generic and formulaic.

A single exception was the band Beyond, before the original singer died (in a concert).

But I certainly hope this points to opening up iTMS to Hong Kong.

Posted by tonton in Hong Kong on February 7, 2005 at 7:08 PM (PDT)

14

They are already up - look in WORLD.

Only trouble is - they are listed in English only.

Posted by jbelkin on February 7, 2005 at 9:14 PM (PDT)

15

i’d love to see more music from different regions becoming available throughout. chinese is a good start, but there are some stuff in iTMS Germany that I’d love to download.

Posted by Nipith in Los Angeles, CA on February 7, 2005 at 10:37 PM (PDT)

16

anyone looking for a japanese band that is actually GOOD, check out a band called THE BLUE HEARTS.  ####### amazing musically and lyrically (all japanese)

Posted by meatleg in JAPAN on February 8, 2005 at 5:47 AM (PDT)

17

sorry, meant to say ‘phuking’ (how annoying)

Posted by meatleg in JAPAN on February 8, 2005 at 5:50 AM (PDT)

18

half the songs are really really really old…..a lot of them are from the 80’s and the early 90’s

Posted by klee1987 in UK on February 8, 2005 at 8:21 AM (PDT)

19

While I applaud Universal’s efforts in taking a chance on iTMS, I am disappointed with the way the song names have been formatted.

Imagine you’re living in Russia trying to read the song names from your favorite band from UK/US/AU/wherever-you’re-from but they’re not translated into Russian, they’re spelled out phonetically in the Russian alphabet. That’s how it is with these tracks right now in iTMS. The song names are spelled out in their romanized pronunciation (aka Pin Yin).

For those of who you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Western schools who teach Chinese as a second language use Pin Yin as a stepping stone for their students. This is not true of native Chinese speakers; they have their own “Chinese alphabet” for kids learning pronunciation, thus most native speakers cannot understand Pin Yin (well, maybe they can “sound it out” once they’ve learned the English alphabet, but it’s not the same. To them, Pin Yin is a foreigner thing). 大家, forgive my rudimentary example.

“Wo Ai Ni” <—Pin Yin (used by iTMS)
“我爱你” <—Chinese characters
“I love you” <—English translation

While the 2nd and 3rd options are certainly acceptable, the first one is ridiculous. Although the song names can be easily replaced in iTunes, people who can read the language will find it difficult to search/browse for the Chinese song they are looking for. I believe *these* are the people who will be the biggest consumers of these types of songs (isn’t the world percentage like 1/3 Chinese-speaking?). These are the people you want to market to. It makes sense, right? Ignoring a <1% exception rate, French songs are likely to be purchased by people who can read French. The same would be true for any language. I think there are few non-Chinese-speaking people that are going to take a chance on something titled “Wo Ai Ni,” assuming you didn’t know what it meant.

Since most of your market already knows Chinese, leave the song names in their original Chinese character set! Another alternative is to translate the song name into its English equivilant. At least the non-Chinese-speaker could relate to the song, but that’s not the market that will bring iTMS *growth*. Even better - include both the Chinese characters and English translation.

Posted by anonymous coward on February 9, 2005 at 9:22 PM (PDT)

20

Don’t get me wrong - I love Apple and iTMS. I want nothing more than to see them both grow and stomp on the competition (die, Napster snobs). But if this song name issue is applied to other foreign language songs (K-pop, J-pop, etc.), the growth in these markets continue to be slow and record companies of non-Latin-based languages will be reluctant to take a chance on iTMS.

I could be worried about nothing, and Apple could be planning the China/HK/Japan/Korea iTMS stores already and will feature songs in their native character sets. That’d be fine by me. All I would have to rant about is the exchange rate. smile

Posted by anonymous coward on February 9, 2005 at 9:24 PM (PDT)

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