China to clamp down on Internet music platforms in 2016

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited November 2015
China this week announced plans to ratchet up its Internet policing policies and will soon impose strict rules that require online music service providers -- which as of September includes Apple -- to filter out "harmful" content prior to streaming.




Posted to a website operated by China's Ministry of Culture, the self-censorship program states companies offering streaming music services will need to filter out content starting Jan. 1. The edict could have far-reaching effects for Chinese consumers who currently rely on local tech firms Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu for their music streaming needs.

Apple, a company diametrically opposed to censorship, just debuted a Chinese version of Apple Music in September alongside access to iTunes Movies and iBooks. Customers who signed up for Apple Music at launch are currently halfway through a three-month free trial period scheduled to end at roughly the same time China will enact its regulations.

It is unclear how the new mandate will affect Apple's fledgling service, but Reuters notes Internet companies in the region dedicate teams of employees to remove questionable material from websites and apps. Experts believe China's self-censorship system, or more specifically the threat of punitive action, prompts companies to be more conservative than is actually necessary.

Apple and the Chinese government have butted heads on censorship issues in the past. Most recently the iPhone maker disabled the iOS 9 News app in a move reportedly aimed at appeasing China's government. News can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad outside of mainland China, but the app fails to refresh content once that device connects to a Chinese cellular network.

With Apple Music getting off the ground in China and competing platforms like Spotify, Rdio and Pandora waiting in the wings, some worry the new policy might dissuade content providers from entering the huge Asian market.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    The country is run by absolute morons.
  • Reply 2 of 23

    Apple and the Chinese government have butted heads on censorship issues in the past. Most recently the iPhone maker disabled the iOS 9 News app in a move reportedly aimed at appeasing China's government. News can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad outside of mainland China, but the app fails to refresh content once that device connects to a Chinese cellular network.

     

    How does the iOS 9 News app work in any other country not yet supported by the News app? For example, what message is displayed to News app users in France or Ireland or Greece or Spain or Brazil or New Zealand or Saudi Arabia or Egypt when they attempt to directly access news in the app? Now, what happens when News app users download news outside of those countries then try to access the downloaded news in the News app inside the countries? Does the News app behave the same way in every other country not yet supported by the News app as in China? I believe the answer is, "Yes." There is no reason to perpetuate the New York Times' purposeful misdirection against Apple with a China censorship story. Sure China may become an issue for iOS 9 News in the future, but at this point iOS 9 News behaves the same way in every country the iOS News app is not supported. If I am wrong, please correct me.

  • Reply 3 of 23
    gwydiongwydion Posts: 1,067member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by leavingthebigG View Post

     

    Apple and the Chinese government have butted heads on censorship issues in the past. Most recently the iPhone maker disabled the iOS 9 News app in a move reportedly aimed at appeasing China's government. News can be downloaded on an iPhone or iPad outside of mainland China, but the app fails to refresh content once that device connects to a Chinese cellular network.

     

    How does the iOS 9 News app work in any other country not yet supported by the News app? For example, what message is displayed to News app users in France or Ireland or Greece or Spain or Brazil or New Zealand or Saudi Arabia or Egypt when they attempt to directly access news in the app? Now, what happens when News app users download news outside of those countries then try to access the downloaded news in the News app inside the countries? Does the News app behave the same way in every other country not yet supported by the News app as in China? I believe the answer is, "Yes." There is no reason to perpetuate the New York Times' purposeful misdirection against Apple with a China censorship story. Sure China may become an issue for iOS 9 News in the future, but at this point iOS 9 News behaves the same way in every country the iOS News app is not supported. If I am wrong, please correct me.


     

    If you set the region to one of the countries supported, you can use news App

  • Reply 4 of 23
    freerange wrote: »
    [Every] country is run by absolute morons.

    Fixed that for you. :D
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gwydion View Post

     

     

    If you set the region to one of the countries supported, you can use news App




    Really? The only reason I am doubtful of your response is when the NYT piece hit I contacted a co-worker in France, which was not supported at the time, and he received the same message as the message displayed in China. A person in Ireland also saw the message. I can accept being wrong with proof that I am wrong. If anyone is in a country where the iOS 9 News app is not currently supported can try changing the region setting on your iPad, iPhone or iPod to test Gwydion's response, please do so and let me know what happens when you change the setting back to your region. Thanks.

  • Reply 6 of 23
    ?Music already censors out a ton of language from what I stream to the point I'm thinking of cancelling the service. As much as I love Apple this family friendly crap chaps my hide.
  • Reply 7 of 23
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,271member
    A friend of mine was touring China playing gigs in varying sizes. He had to cancel mid tour, because I guess it was considered harmful. Too many crowds gathering, word spread, freedom loving, longing for love and truth lyrics, in a humorous and dubious way. It's difficult sometimes to understand what they find harmful... But anything potentially challenging the Chinese way, I assume.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    palegolas wrote: »
    A friend of mine was touring China playing gigs in varying sizes. He had to cancel mid tour, because I guess it was considered harmful. Too many crowds gathering, word spread, freedom loving, longing for love and truth lyrics, in a humorous and dubious way. It's difficult sometimes to understand what they find harmful... But anything potentially challenging the Chinese way, I assume.

    Your buddy is lucky he didn't end up in prison.
  • Reply 9 of 23
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    Okay,

    But are they clamping down on illegal music services too and those who download illegally?
    Or do they not give a sh** like other countries?
  • Reply 10 of 23
    cali wrote: »
    Okay,

    But are they clamping down on illegal music services too and those who download illegally?
    Or do they not give a sh** like other countries?

    The Chinese ruling elite care about the ruling elite. Full stop. Same is true everywhere. People in powerful political positions hate for their authority to be scrutinized.
  • Reply 11 of 23

    So interesting the things we care about.  Air Q in China is horrid, but let's make sure that our music is clean.

  • Reply 12 of 23
    latifbp wrote: »
    ?Music already censors out a ton of language from what I stream to the point I'm thinking of cancelling the service. As much as I love Apple this family friendly crap chaps my hide.

    LOL! Cancel the service because you are unclear on how to use it? Only thing that seems to be sensored are the tracks played on Beats 1. Streams from the radio selected playlist aren't always censored tracks unless that's all that is available. Playing of albums are also not censored if you select the album to be played with the "E" explicit content indication on it. They handle censored tracks no differently than Pandora or Spotify from my experience. Also.... Make sure you don't have explicit media blocked under Restrictions under settings.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    I am in from Canada where The news App is not activated. Changing region to US does activate the App. Not sure if it would work from China.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    ibanks wrote: »
    LOL! Cancel the service because you are unclear on how to use it? Only thing that seems to be sensored are the tracks played on Beats 1. Streams from the radio selected playlist aren't always censored tracks unless that's all that is available. Playing of albums are also not censored if you select the album to be played with the "E" explicit content indication on it. They handle censored tracks no differently than Pandora or Spotify from my experience. Also.... Make sure you don't have explicit media blocked under Restrictions under settings.

    why don't you explain why despite not having explicit media blocked, and despite playing the Explicit, spelled with a capital E version of Medicine Man with Eminem on Dr. Dre's new exclusive Apple release album of Compton edits out rape from the song... It's like MTV going to commercial when Nirvana tried to play Rape Me at their stupid VMA's.
  • Reply 15 of 23
    latifbp wrote: »
    why don't you explain why despite not having explicit media blocked, and despite playing the Explicit, spelled with a capital E version of Medicine Man with Eminem on Dr. Dre's new exclusive Apple release album of Compton edits out rape from the song... It's like MTV going to commercial when Nirvana tried to play Rape Me at their stupid VMA's.

    If you didn't know, law enforcement has limited ability to arrest individuals through their music if admitting to some crimes. Then again it could just be the logistics of the word, kind of like on All About The Benjamin's by Puffy Daddy and the Fam where the word "Hebrews" is bleeped out or how on the words "world trade" is typically bleeped out when Biggie says "Blow up like the world trade" on his Juicy track. Some tracks are just that way but what we consider as explicit words may not be bleeped out within the same track. But it's still stupid to cancel an subscription over a few bleeped out words.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    ibanks wrote: »
    If you didn't know, law enforcement has limited ability to arrest individuals through their music if admitting to some crimes. Then again it could just be the logistics of the word, kind of like on All About The Benjamin's by Puffy Daddy and the Fam where the word "Hebrews" is bleeped out or how on the words "world trade" is typically bleeped out when Biggie says "Blow up like the world trade" on his Juicy track. Some tracks are just that way but what we consider as explicit words may not be bleeped out within the same track. But it's still stupid to cancel an subscription over a few bleeped out words.

    If I spend $15/mo I'd like to think I could listen without censorship. I realize there's a lot of other music without such words, but it dulls the art of pure expression and I'm just against that. I may rather go back to buying the albums I like outright despite what you think. To say they're standing for artists and censoring critical forms of expression around current events contradicts what Apple says they stand for when it comes to artistry. Maybe China is their ideal market in the end.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    Buying the physical media means nothing. The same edits may still exist. Another example that comes to mind is Jay-Z's "is that your chick" track. Back prior to the album being released the lyrics were clearly "is that yo bitxh" but then the commercial release that was purchased in store or online all states "is that yo chick" within the lyrics of the song. But hell, if you wanna lay $9.99+ for every album rather than accessing majority of them for $14.99 that's on you but it's still a stupid reasoning to cancel off of a few edited words.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    It's the Principal. If Jay-Z works with a record label that forces such a preschool edit like that, it reinforces why I don't listen to that fool. Dan Quik would not accept that crap. To each their own iBanks, thanks for sharing your opinion, but there are many ways to consume music. If I want radio edits I'll listen to terrestrial radio.
  • Reply 19 of 23
    China still imprisons people that speak poorly of the central government.

    They have many protests a day through the entire country especially in rural areas. The ruling elite are afraid of a revolution, so they invest as much in the police state as in the military.

    (This would be equivalent to the U.S. spending their military budget on the domestic police and internet censorship office instead. It's massive.)

    Very few want a bloody revolution, because you must consider that an oppressive regime that values the status quo over individual freedom is the natural state of human existence (based on historical evidence).

    Liberal democracy (the U.S. being the oldest stable govt. in existence at the moment) is a rarity and is constantly under attack by human nature's desire for power.

    tl;dr: China will behave like this for the next century, as they have a quite stable system and lots of economic clout to swing around. Get used to it.
  • Reply 20 of 23

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