Unicom dials up music downloads

Music companies onboard

BEIJING — China’s second biggest wireless carrier China Unicom has started testing a service that will allow subscribers to download songs to cellphones.

The service, called Xuan Qu, is being tested in partnership with artists and 23 music companies.

Chinese music and telco companies are working hard to boost sales and clamp down on piracy by diversifying revenue streams and providing convenient channels for consumers to buy legitimate music.

The new service will allow subscribers to download songs for 3-5 Chinese yuan (39 cents to 66 cents) each.

Record companies offering songs on the service include EMI Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group.

Last year China’s No. 1 mobile carrier, China Mobile, bought a 19.9% stake in Phoenix Satellite Television Holdings as part of its expansion in value-added services.

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