Quick Hits: Alibaba buys video network; Bandier reassures Sony songwriters; Amazon’s casual music strategy

Brief news items and worthy reads from around the web:

Alibaba buys China’s YouTube: Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Holding Group has purchased Youku Tudou, China’s equivalent of YouTube, in a deal valued at $4.8 billion. Alibaba already had a minority stake in the video network, but has been seeking a takeover for some time. It finally closed the acquisition after upping its offer to 35% more than Youku’s stock price. China’s entertainment industry faces heavy restrictions (the government just announced new policies to remove some politically inflammatory content), so any music business pros with an international bent will want to keep tabs on how these stories develop.

Sony/ATV CEO reassures songwriters on Pandora deal: Pandora and Sony/ATV inked a direct publishing deal last week, but the publicly available details were scant. Martin Bandier, CEO of Sony’s music publishing arm, sent a letter to all of its represented songwriters, emphasizing that the deal would be financially beneficial. “Rest assured that you will receive 100% of its benefits,” he wrote.

Amazon Prime and a casual listener strategy: Amazon Prime usually doesn’t get lumped in during discussions of the top streaming music services, yet the online retailer has made some unique choices in developing its own platform. The New York Times profiled Amazon’s music property and how it is carving an audience niche of casual music listeners.

Anna Washenko