Hong Kong music portal Gogo. com is giving up recording new acts and will turn towards more lucrative remix and marketing work for larger labels and corporate sponsors, according to industry sources. The company, which started about three years ago with the intention of using the Internet to audition bands as well as distribute their music, has won applause in the music industry for being a risk-taking label willing to sign unknown acts. However, the downturn in the fortunes of dotcom companies and recent stagnation in the music business, online and offline, have forced Gogo to shelve many of its electronic commerce and music-making plans. Sources close to Gogo are saying the company has effectively abandoned any plans to launch new acts. 'Technically, Gogo is not closing. But they are moving away from their original business model of signing artists and releasing records, mainly because the industry is in the dumps right now and they were not making any money,' one source said. Gogo's three signed acts included local dance music group Digital Cutup Lounge and Japan's Monaural Voice. Startup funding sources included Growth Enterprise Market-listed Techpacific Capital, although it is unclear whether it still funds Gogo. Gogo's international licensing manager, Tara Browne, said the portal remained a going concern and was looking at new areas, including publishing music that would be free to listeners but would also carry advertising. Gogo might also launch a music recommendation service for corporations looking to launch products and produce the Asian releases of records made in other parts of the world, he said. 'It's no secret that the market is really tough at the moment in Hong Kong,' Mr Browne said, citing 25 per cent year-on-year decreases in record sales for the past two years. 'All record companies have decreased their sales over the last two years. Definitely, smaller record companies are going to feel that more.' The traditional music business fell in value to US$33.7 billion worldwide last year, with sales hurt by economic uncertainty and piracy. In many parts of Asia, pirated compact discs can be found on the streets for a fraction of the recommended retail price, while pirated online music downloads continue to thrive. Gogo offered free music samples on its Web site. A handful of firms in the region have also been attempting to make a business out of paid music downloads, including Soundbuzz and PlanetMG in Singapore. GigaMedia in Taiwan had aggressive plans last year, but has since put them on hold. GigaMedia, after acquiring two of Taiwan's largest retail music chains earlier this year, is putting on hold plans for an online subscription service that was scheduled to launch this year, according to spokesman Bradley Miller. Any online music plans would be created in conjunction with the recently acquired music retailing chains. 'We're still looking at launching online, but we're taking very small steps,' Mr Miller said. In Hong Kong, online music retailers include YesAsia, which sells albums through mail order and will not offer paid downloads. Stareastnet, the site that represents a number of the SAR's Cantopop stars, was also launched with major e-commerce plans several years ago but has since cancelled them.