Wawawa Hopes Three-Cent Tracks Can Crack China’s Music Piracy

imageJust how cheap do music downloads need to be before listeners will buy them rather than pull ’em from P2P? About three cents, reckons one new Chinese platform. That’s how much a track costs at Wawawa, a new offering started by ringtone firm R2G with repertoire from San Fran-based indie distributor Ioda. The service offers up to 88 MP3s per month for 20 yuan ($2.92) – the price set low in a country all too used to pilfering free music. This, Variety points out, is both the first Chinese foray for foreign indies and, in a stroke, China’s largest music store with more than one million tracks, which can also be web-streamed, not just downloaded, for the hoardes of Chinese who use internet cafes.

“Wawawa” is the sound of the music business crying over lost revenue. Can anything stop China’s piracy problem? Though Nettwek CEO Terry McBride recently said music has been freely shared in China for hundreds of years, a recent Music 2.0 survey found that a full third there are willing to pay for downloads. Release.