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RealTime IT News

Microsoft Involved in Taiwan Online Music Gig

Fashion Music Station (FMS), operator of a popular Chinese-language music Web site, has announced a joint venture with Chunghwa Telecom and Microsoft to sell music over the Internet.

FMS will select the music to be made available on the Net, while Chunghwa Telecom will offer access to a vast potential customer base: the 1.5 million people who hold dial-up accounts with its HiNet ISP unit.

Microsoft's role will be to provide software solutions ensuring the integrity of online transactions and protecting the intellectual property rights of participating artists.

FMS believe they have solved a problem which has until now limited the scale of online music sales. An important part of the market for popular music consists of youngsters unable to obtain credit cards. FMS will serve this market by allowing such subscribers to purchase and download up to NT$5,000 (US$157) worth of music each month, so long as their payments record is good.

FMS General Manager James Chen told the China Post that he expects the collaborative venture to boost the firm's e-commerce revenue from NT$30 million this year to NT$100 million next year. FMS's move is also expected to have an impact on the local music scene. The firm has said it will devote part of its revenues to developing niche artists who are often neglected by large recording companies.

Music can be recorded and offered for sale on the Internet for a total investment of around NT$ ,000 (US$6,300), compared to the NT$3 million (US$95,000) typically required to produce and promote a CD.