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Alibaba Planet: Jack Ma launching a Taobao-like music platform

Ailbaba Planet

A mobile app named Alibaba Planet was officially introduced on Friday. With the app, Jack Ma will seemingly bring the whole music industry online in a way similar to how his platform Taobao made e-commerce explode in China.

Alibaba’s music arm, Ali Music has two components, one being TTPOD, a mobile music player app introduced in 2008 and purchased by Alibaba in 2013, and the other being music service provider Xiami, acquired earlier in the same year. The new platform Alibaba Planet is an upgrade based on TTPOD.

The tech news site Huxiu quoted the chairman of Ali Music group Gao Xiaosong, a well-known Chinese music producer and singer, back in January. “We are building a platform to connect the upstream and downstream of the online music industry,” Gao said. According to him, this platform will be very similar to Taobao. Music professionals will be able to open their own shops on the platform in order to provide paid music services.

Alibaba Planet user interface. Photo from Alibaba Planet

The app has three columns on the home page: Fans Union, Music Streaming and Pro Talent. On Fans Union, there is “star square”, which is similar to the social network Weibo on which stars have their accounts to interact with fans; “shopping mall”, which sells tickets for shows and concerts and even music-related merchandise including albums, T-shirts, badges and caps; and “celebrity news”, on which bloggers are welcome to write about celebrity news and gossip.

On the Music Streaming page, the app basically maintains the music streaming function of TTPOD, and adds a live streaming function for users to watch live shows of music stars and grassroots musicians.

The app’s most innovative function is called Pro Talent. Using Pro Talent, professionals in every niche market of the music industry are welcomed to register as a merchant, selling services or products to either individual users or corporate clients. There is a huge selection of services available.

To name a few, there are music production services which cover nearly everything in music production, from writing lyrics to composing. There are also services for holding shows, which include venue rentals, stage lighting, sound services, instrument rentals and stage engineering.

Some might view this as an aggressive move by Alibaba, but others have faith in it. First, money is not a problem for Alibaba. Second, it has hired three renowned executives, who are dubbed the “iron triangle”. Besides Gao, Alibaba has hired Song Ke as the CEO, a veteran in the music scene who founded the music production company Maitian Yinyue, and He Jiong as the COO, one of the top TV hosts in China. Alibaba is trying to leverage the reputation, ability and resources of these three.

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