Chinese online retailer Alibaba has signed a major distribution deal with German music rights group BMG. It is yet another step in Alibaba’s plan to become a digital media empire. BMG announced Monday that the deal will bring over 2.5 million copyrights to Alibaba. The Chinese company’s digital entertainment arm already has a large number of songs from artists like Jean-Michael Jarre, the Rolling Stones and Kylie Minogue.

Alibaba

Alibaba deal to help grow the legitimate music market in China

Alibaba is expanding aggressively in music, film and television to become a digital media juggernaut. Though China has a poor track record of consumers not paying for media content, the Hangzhou-based company has touted its ability to sell physical as well as digital products in China. BMG said the deal was an opportunity to boost earnings by its artists in China.

The German company said the deal will also help it grow the “legitimate music market in China.” In November last year, BMG reached an agreement with another Chinese company Giant Jump to manage publishing and recording rights in China as well as overseas. Alibaba said its digital entertainment unit will promote BMG artists and writers through its streaming apps like Xiami and TTPod.

The Chinese online retailer will also monitor and take action against digital and mobile services that violate the intellectual property rights of BMG clients. BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch said Monday that Internet and mobile media have provided an answer to the music industry’s challenge of monetizing the huge untapped potential of the Chinese market.

Alibaba partners with the SIFF

Separately, Alibaba has signed a strategic partnership agreement with the Shanghai International Film Festival. Alibaba’s Taobao will serve as the official ticketing platform for the Festival. The e-commerce giant’s crowdsourcing-like service Yulebao will be an official interactive entertainment partner. The Chinese company spent well over $3 billion last year to beef up its entertainment business.

Alibaba shares inched up 0.21% to $84.76 in pre-market trading Monday.