German music company BMG has struck a digital distribution deal with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, and the partnership could help fight piracy in a market known to be an unfriendly place for digital music.
BMG said the deal will give over 2.5 million copyrights to Alibaba, whose music platforms already carry songs from artists including the Rolling Stones, Jean-Michael Jarre and Kylie Minogue.
BMG, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media firm, said the agreement is a chance to boost earnings by its artists in China and a part of its attempts to "grow the legitimate music market" there.
BMG, in a 30 March statement, said Alibaba's Digital Entertainment arm will "promote BMG writers and artists through channels such as its streaming apps Xiami and TTPod" and "monitor and take action against digital and mobile services who may infringe the rights of BMG clients."
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch commented: "Internet and particular mobile media are quickly providing an answer to the music industry's long time challenge of how to monetize the vast untapped potential of the Chinese market. We are delighted to link with such a powerful and dynamic partner as Alibaba."
NYSE-traded Alibaba, already the world's largest e-commerce firm, is determined to build a digital media empire with music, film and television.
The $210bn (£142bn, €194bn) firm is vying with Tencent Holdings, China's largest social networking and online entertainment firm, and search leader Baidu and its online video unit iQiyi.
Last November, BMG inked a deal with Chinese music firm Giant Jump to manage its publishing and recording rights both at home and overseas.