Music websites considering fee for listening online

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Some Vietnamese music websites are considering charging users for listening to music online though their plans to collect fees for downloading music have not been very successful so far.

At a meeting January 3 with the Vietnam Center for Protection of Music Copyright (VCPMC) and Hanoi-based MVCorp, 15 online music providers said they are planning to collect the fees by June.

Pham Thanh Thuy, director of VCPMC for the north, said the fee for listening should be a tenth of the downloading rate.

She hinted that the fee would be around VND1,000 (US 5 cents) for a song and the downloading fee could be raised tenfold to VND10,000-15,000.

Users are supposed to pay VND1,000 for downloading a song since November 2012. But only 15 out of 150 online music websites have actually demanded the fee, and the amount collected so far is around VND17 million ($817).

The rest continue to allow free downloads, saying they have difficulty in setting up payment systems.

"We are also considering creating an account for each user", Thuy said.

"It means users will pay a specific amount of money every month, and how many songs or how many times they want to listen is up to them."

Trinh Hoang Tuan, head of online music website nhac.vui.vn, which is operated by the 24h Online Advertising Joint-Stock Co., said charging users for listening to music is very risky because the industry is too competitive.

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It would just give other websites the opportunity to attract customers by offering free songs.

In Vietnam, pirated music, movies, computer software, and books are widely sold online and in shops.

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