Free Music’s Last Days?

China’s intellectual property authority is of two minds with regard to charging Internet users for music downloads, the Beijing Morning Post reported. Though it supports the idea, it also insists that “some free download services” should remain in order to boost China’s domestic music industry.

During an April 10 press conference in Beijing, government representative Wang Yefei said, “We have a huge audience and lots of singers, but not many original songs. The industry needs more incentives and the business model of selling music online is an important and helpful approach.”

He did not specify when the music industry would start charging users, but added “there will be other free music services.”

Paying for music has become a hot Internet topic in China in the last month after famed songwriter and music producer Gao Xiaosong said “the era of free music has come to an end” and revealed that “major record companies in China have finished negotiations and reached an agreement on sales both online and offline” that will likely be implemented later this year.

In response, Wang Chantian, the CEO of one of the country’s largest media entertainment companies, said the new online system could go into effect as early as July 1.