Baidu’s smart devices and voice assistants arm is worth $2.9bn

Smart speakers and voice assistants are increasingly popular, but what’s their value in corporate terms? It’s hard to tell given that many of the companies making them – Apple, Google and Amazon included – don’t split out their revenues from this technology, and the companies’ market caps are based on their entire businesses. But here’s […]

300k listeners voted on the songs for Tencent Music’s new compilation

In China, Tencent Music has plenty of history as a direct distribution channel for independent musicians, which is now concentrated in its Tencent Musician arm. Its latest project is interesting. ‘Root Music’ is a collection of Chinese folk tracks in local dialects, with its lineup chosen by listeners rather than by Tencent Music’s own curators. […]

China blast for TikTok deal as ‘dirty and underhanded trick’

President Trump may have tentatively approved TikTok’s deal to avoid a ban in the US, but what will the Chinese government make of it? Judging by state-media outlet China Daily’s blistering editorial column this morning – title: ‘No disguising proposed TikTok deal is a dirty and underhanded trick’ – the omens aren’t good. “What the United States has done […]

Covid-19’s music impact: views from Latin America, China and Nigeria

Music Ally’s Sandbox Summit Global online conference began today with some quickfire talks on how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected the music industry in Latin America, China and Nigeria. Noemí Planas, network development director at global independent body WIN began with a blunt assessment of the challenges in Latin America. “In recent months we have […]

WMG’s ADA Worldwide follows LatAm expansion with Asia launch

Warner Music Group’s distribution arm ADA Worldwide is on an expansion drive. In July, it launched ADA Latin to oversee Latin America and Latin music in the US as well as Spain and Portugal. Now it’s turning its attention to Asia. ADA Asia will be headquartered in Singapore, with a remit to sign up artists and independent […]

Music opportunities in China: ‘Artists really need to move fast…’

In China, the music industry works differently. Music fans quickly – and in the tens of millions – adopt new technologies, new methods of supporting artists or ways of consuming music. The audience seeks a different experience from artists, who are often hybrid stars – equally at home as actors, TV personalities or models. What […]

Tencent’s WeSing is keeping China’s karaoke sector thriving

Karaoke is enormously popular with people of all ages in China, with millions flocking to ‘KTV venues’ [karaoke bars] to partake in singalongs. The Chinese government’s 2019 China Music Industry Development Report valued the karaoke sector at RMB 101.07bn (nearly $14.6bn) in 2019, up 12.3% year-on-year with that rise driven in part by online karaoke […]

NetEase Cloud Music saw ‘triple-digit revenue growth’ in Q2

Chinese technology firm NetEase published its latest financial results last week, with no new figures for its NetEase Cloud Music streaming service. However, the service was mentioned in the subsequent earnings call with analysts. “For NetEase Cloud Music, we continued to see triple-digit revenue growth in the second quarter year over year, with both membership and […]

TikTok rival Likee now has 150m monthly active users

TikTok isn’t the only short-videos app from China to be making a big splash. Tech firm Joyy’s latest financial results reveal the growth of its app Likee, which has a similar community of people creating videos with special effects and music. The app, formerly known as ‘Like’, saw its average mobile monthly active users grow by 86.2% year-on-year […]

Chinese music subscribers have doubled to 60m in two years

Music Ally has just published our latest country profile, of China, and it includes some new figures on the growth of the recorded music industry there. We already knew from the IFPI that in 2019 China’s market grew by 16% to $590.9m, becoming the seventh biggest recorded music market in the world. For the profile, […]

China’s Twitch equivalent DouYu has 165.3m monthly users

We haven’t written about DouYu before, because the Chinese livestreaming video platform is focused on games rather than music. The numbers are startling though: according to its latest financial results, DouYu averaged 165.3 million monthly active users in the second quarter of this year, including 58.4 million people on mobile devices. Meanwhile, DouYu generated RMB 2.51bn […]

Country Profile – China 2020

A lack of reliable figures makes China a difficult music market to understand. Even so, its digital potential is vast. The post Country Profile – China 2020 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

NetEase Cloud Music says it’s tops for Japanese music in China

China has become an important market for Japanese artists and labels in recent years. Now streaming service NetEase Cloud Music is staking its claim to be the “platform of choice for fans of Japanese music” in China. It’s wielding a report published by research firm Small Antlers Think Tank as its proof: a survey of […]

UMG signs NetEase deal and launches label with Tencent Music

It was a busy day for Tencent Music, and for China’s digital music industry as a whole. Universal Music Group made two announcements about its latest deals there: one with NetEase Cloud Music, and the other with Tencent Music. The NetEase deal is significant: a multi-year direct licensing agreement (rather than UMG’s previous deal that […]

Executive order bans US transactions with ByteDance… and Tencent

As promised, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all transactions by US companies with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. However, a separate order extends the ban to messaging app WeChat AND its parent company Tencent – including “any subsidiary of that entity”. Strap yourselves in. Given Tencent’s web of investments in and from music industry […]

NetEase Cloud Music ups moderation after ‘NetEmo’ meme

We’ve written before about one area where Chinese music streaming services like NetEase Cloud Music beat most of their western equivalents: they have a thriving comments ecosystem where listeners are giving their views on music. The flipside of that: those western streaming services don’t have to worry about comment / community moderation, which can be […]

Microsoft in talks to buy TikTok in US and other countries

Events have moved fast since Friday for TikTok’s business in the US, it’s fair to say. We’ll start with the latest news: confirmation from Microsoft that it’s in talks about an acquisition of TikTok in the US and certain other countries, with a mid-September deadline to reach an agreement with the app’s parent company ByteDance […]

Taylor Swift Folklore made $1.2m in three days… from one Chinese DSP

Taylor Swift’s new album ‘Folklore’ may have been a surprise release, but its popularity is entirely unsurprising. According to Republic Records, the album sold more than 1.3m copies in its first 24 hours, and was streamed 80.6m times on Spotify and 35.5m times on Apple Music. Critical acclaim has been flooding in for the album, […]

Tencent Music reveals figures for indie artists initiative

‘Tencent Musician’ is Tencent Music’s program for independent artists in China, offering them distribution and promotion across its three streaming services. To celebrate the initiative’s third birthday, Tencent Music (TME) has published some figures. “The program has generated 590 million yuan in revenue for original music content creators since its inception,” it announced. That’s around […]

After India ban, TikTok could face further sanctions in US

TikTok and its parent company ByteDance have been hit by a ban in India as part of a wider crackdown on apps of Chinese origin. But there may be trouble brewing for the companies in the US, too, due both to the political jockeying around hardball trade negotiations between the US and China, and specific […]

International Indie Music Season conference set for China

Happy International Indie Music Season! Well, it’s not quite started yet: the three-month project (IIMS for short) starts on 17 July with a three-day conference and performances series, which has been designed as “a platform for the global music industry and China to meet”. Music Ally China is an official partner of the event: our […]

China now has 904m internet users – 75m more than last year

A report published by the research division of the South China Morning Post puts some new figures on the growth of internet access in China – a key driver for the streaming music market there. The report claims that there are now 904 million internet users in China – 63% of the population – with […]

Outdustry launches China music publishing arm Outdustry Songs

Outdustry has long been one of the most respected companies helping western music firms and artists do business in China (and more recently, India too). Its services have mainly focused on marketing and rights management / licensing, but now Outdustry is launching a music publishing arm focused on China called Outdustry Songs. It has non-exclusive direct […]

UMG signs former Rocket Girls 101 star Sunnee to global deal

Earlier this week we reported on UMG’s latest success story in China: strong figures for the new album by artist Linong Chen. Now it’s talking about a new signing in the country: Sunnee (杨芸晴) from girl group Rocket Girls 101 (火箭少女101) who split up earlier this week. UMG is releasing Sunnee’s new single ‘By Your Side’ […]

Universal Music hails China sales success for Linong Chen

The major western music companies are, it’s fair to say, very keen to expand their foothold in the Chinese music industry. From beefing up their offices in China to taking investment from its digital industry’s giant Tencent, Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are all making the country a growth priority. Some new numbers […]

What can we learn from Covid-19’s impact on China’s music industry?

The Chinese music industry saw 16% growth in its recorded music revenues in 2019 according to the IFPI, but it was also the first country to be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. Does that make it a canary in the coalmine for the global music industry, in terms of learning lessons from the coronavirus impact, […]

Huawei Music claims 160m monthly users, as it launches in Europe

Back in November 2018, we wrote about Chinese technology firm Huawei’s claim that its Huawei Music streaming service had 100 million monthly active users – a surprise to many people in the west who hadn’t been following its growth. Since then, Huawei has become one of the more controversial tech companies in the world thanks to scrutiny in […]

Music’s global evolution: K-Pop, China, and Eastern Europe

The second morning at this year’s NY:LON Connect conference focused on ‘emerging international and influential markets’. Three territories in particular: South Korea, China, and Russia / Eastern Europe. The track began with a keynote from Sun Lee, YouTube’s head of music content partnerships and subscriptions for Korea and Greater China. Lee was interviewed by Billboard […]

People spent $115bn using WeChat ‘mini programs’ in 2019

Tencent’s messaging app WeChat is already a huge moneymaker in terms of the way people in China use it to pay for all manner of goods and services. One of the keys to this are the ‘Mini Programs’ launched by developers and brands for WeChat: essentially apps within the app. How much money is being […]

Composer Kerry Muzzey tweets tangled tale of Chinese licensing problems

If you want an insight into some of the challenges for composers in 2020, grab a large cup of tea and settle down to read this Twitter thread from Kerry Muzzey, whose music has been used by a number of high-profile TV shows. In it, he details his discovery that his music had been used, without […]

Music Ally Report 426: Trends of 2019

This year we’ve picked 42 (also the answer to life, the universe and everything as fans of Douglas Adams will know) of the trends and moments we found most significant in 2019. What are they? *takes deep breath* industry growth; the European Copyright Directive and Music Modernization Act; Spotify’s two-sided marketplace; Apple Music’s bundled future; […]

Bytedance hires former Tencent Music exec for Douyin role

Bytedance’s latest music hire will be focusing on its Douyin short-video app in China – the Chinese version of TikTok. The company has recruited Deng Linhai to lead Douyin’s music business, according to news site Technode. The former operations director at Tencent Music Entertainment is taking over from Douyin’s former music boss Zhu Jie, who left the […]

Teenager tests TikTok policies with video criticising China

TikTok has been under fire recently over accusations that its global moderation policies are too in thrall to the government of its parent company’s homeland, China. The line coming out of TikTok executives in the US this month has been that censorship decisions on the platform in the west are NOT driven by Beijing. That’s […]

Washington Post explores TikTok-censorship ‘culture clash’

TikTok’s difficult end-of-2019 in the US continues: now the Washington Post has been digging around in the company’s internal policies. ‘Inside TikTok: A culture clash where US views about censorship often were overridden by the Chinese bosses‘ is the Post’s headline, which is exactly the issue that’s been sparking calls by US politicians for a […]

Viral post exposes fake-data problem in China’s KOL advertising

On 17 October, a Chinese tech-startup owner posted an article on his WeChat account about a controversial aspect of China’s KOL (Key Opinion Leaders – known as influencers in the west) advertising scene. The article now has more than 100k views, as well as countless reposts by other notable accounts and individuals. It concerned a […]

Tencent Music’s Andy Ng talks AI recommendations and karaoke expansion

In a keynote interview at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) conference in Amsterdam, Tencent Music’s Andy Ng outlined his role in combatting piracy in China, building a legal streaming market there and why he and his employers are betting heavy on the EDM boom. Ng stepped back from his role as group VP at Tencent […]

Sandbox Issue 238: Remixes Hit Saturation Point

Lead: Lil Nas X might have broken on TikTok but it was his deft use of multiple remixes (and collaborations) that kept ‘Old Town Road’ in the air throughout most of 2019. He claims he has 25 remixes of follow-up track ‘Panini’ ready to go, although this might prove to be the most high-profile case […]

DJ Zedd faces China ban over liking South Park tweet

South Park has long been a critic of, well, just about everything. But the show has often aimed its satirical powers at China and now DJ Zedd claims he has been banned from China for liking a tweet on South Park’s Twitter account marking its 300th episode. “I just got permanently banned from China because […]

TuneCore and CD Baby move into China with Tencent deal

Acts distributed by TuneCore and CD Baby will now be available to listeners in China – or, to be more precise, listeners who use Tencent’s music offerings. The deals cover QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo, who collectively reach 652m people in China according to Billboard. “We create partnerships, tools and services that bring the greatest possible […]

Blizzard under fire over ban for esports player’s Hong Kong comments

Games firm Blizzard is attracting criticism for its decision to fine and ban an esports player who expressed support for the current pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during a post-match interview. Chung Ng Wai was a competitor in an esports tournament for Blizzard’s game Hearthstone, and the publisher (which also runs the event) quickly stripped him of […]

Alibaba reportedly buying a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music

Big moves are afoot in China’s music-streaming world, with reports that tech giant Alibaba is acquiring a 20% stake in NetEase Cloud Music, as part of a wider $2bn investment in the latter’s parent company NetEase. MBW suggests that the deal may value NetEase Cloud Music as high as $9bn – less than half that of rival […]

Taylor Swift’s ‘Lover’ sets another new record… in China

It’s a week since the release of the new Taylor Swift album ‘Lover’, so we’ll be looking out for announcements about its sales and streams. The first official word today on the album’s performance has a very specific focus though: China. Universal Music has put out a press release celebrating the fact that ’Taylor Swift’s […]

Tencent Music under pressure over exclusive licensing deals

One of the quirks of China’s music-streaming market has been the system of exclusive licensing deals: where a label will license its catalogue exclusively to one streaming firm, which will then sub-license it to its rivals. There has been talk for several months of the system being done away with at the behest of regulators. […]

Tencent Music now has 31m paying online-music users

Tencent Music published its latest financial results yesterday, and they revealed sluggish growth for active users of the company’s three online-music services in China, but a much more-sprightly rise in the number of paid subscribers for those services. The company ended Q2 with 652 million mobile monthly active users across QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, […]

The next TikTok? 10 more short-video apps taking China by storm

TikTok is currently one of the most popular social apps globally, and it’s making plenty of waves in the music industry, from playing an early role in making ‘Old Town Road’ a hit and becoming an exciting platform for music marketing campaigns, to sparking copyright arguments with collecting societies and speculation about its licensing talks […]

Chinese streaming service Xiami Music adds MQA hi-res audio

Chinese technology company Alibaba’s music-streaming service, Xiami Music, is hoping to steal a march on rivals by boosting its sound quality – via a partnership with hi-res audio firm MQA. Xiami will be using MQA’s technology for the ‘SVIP’ tier of its service, initially within its Android and iOS apps. It will also be giving all […]

Key execs exit Bytedance’s China music-business team

There appear to be changes afoot in the music team at Chinese technology firm Bytedance, with reports in China that one of its key executives, Zhu Jie, has quietly left the company. She was responsible for the music activities of Bytedance’s Douyin and Volcanic Video properties, although not for TikTok globally. Music Ally understands that Song Yubin, […]

Baidu says its DuerOS voice assistant now has 400m users

Chinese technology firm Baidu has announced a new milestone for its DuerOS voice assistant – the company’s equivalent of Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri. DuerOS now has 400 million users, which suggests that its user-base has doubled since January this year, when DuerOS was being used on 200m devices. (We say ‘suggests’ because the milestone was reported as […]

Chinese government to ‘curb industry chaos’ with audio apps

The Chinese government has launched a crackdown on audio apps, with one prominent music-streaming service included. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) announced that 26 audio platforms that spread “historical nihilism and obscene pornography” are the first batch of services it has taken action against. The announcement promises a “comprehensive centralised rectification of the audio industry” that […]

Music Ally China launches this month

Music Ally has been writing about the digital-music market in China for more than a decade, tracing its development from an almost-entirely unlicensed territory through to today, when China is the seventh biggest recorded-music market in the world, with hundreds of millions of people using streaming services from companies like Tencent Music and NetEase. In […]

NetEase’s Mathew Daniel talks China, artists and publishing as ketchup

Mathew Daniel, VP international at Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music, has criticised collecting societies while suggesting that direct payments to publishers could be a better model in China. “I have an analogy. Publishing is like a tomato-ketchup bottle. We are in the 21st century, and we are all still struggling with it,” said Daniel […]

China has now overtaken the US for smart-speaker shipments

More than 5m smart speakers were shipped in the US during the first quarter of 2019, which represents around 22% year-on-year growth, according to research firm Canalys. But wait: the US is no longer the biggest market for these devices in the world, having been overtaken by China. In fact, 10.6m smart speakers shipped in China […]

China’s music industry discusses social music-promotion

This weekend saw the ‘WISE’ conference take place in Beijing, with a lineup of Chinese and international speakers from the music and media industries. Music Ally was there to report back on some of the discussions relating to our industry: particularly a debate over how or if platforms like TikTok (Douyin in China) plan to […]

Tencent Music now has 28.4m paying users for online music

Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2019 overnight, and there are plenty of big numbers as you’d expect. Overall revenues grew by 39.4% year-on-year to RMB 5.74bn ($855m) as TME recorded an RMB 987m ($147m) net profit – as usual benefitting from the fact that a significant chunk of its […]

Galas over gigs? The future for foreign bands playing in China

It’s getting more expensive for foreign artists to play live in China, thanks to new tax regulations on overseas performers and ticket sales. That’s bad news at a time when ever-more western artists are eyeing China with intent, thanks to the boom in legal music-streaming services owned by companies like Tencent and NetEase. Now Chinese […]

Apple under fire in US for Tiananmen Square song removal in China

When we wrote about songs by certain Hong Kong artists being removed from Chinese music-streaming services last week, we noted that it appeared to be local services as well as Apple Music, despite initial headlines focusing on the latter. However, back in the US it’s Apple’s involvement in this censorship that’s drawing criticism from politicians. “It’s […]

China to introduce ‘youth mode’ time limits for short-video apps

The challenge of levering children off their favourite app is one being grappled with by parents across the world, whether it’s YouTube, Fortnite, TikTok or Roblox. Now the Chinese government is introducing regulations that will crack down on one particular sector: ‘short-video’ apps including TikTok’s Chinese version Douyin and rival Kuaishou. “From June, all such […]

Tencent Music invests in music-streaming service Douban FM

Tencent already owns three of the main music-streaming services in China. Now it has invested in a fourth: Douban FM. However, the deal is being described (by TechNode) as a strategic investment that will see Tencent providing support in the form of ‘product design and copyright authorisation’ rather than cash. The report notes that Douban FM […]

Country Profile – China 2019

The post Country Profile – China 2019 appeared first on Music Ally. Source: Music ally

Could China be the model for music-streaming growth in Japan?

Japan may be the world’s second-largest recorded-music market, but in terms of music-streaming, it is still early days for a country where CD is still the prime format. Midia Research has raised some concerns about the rate of streaming growth in Japan: “Up 30% in 2018, which puts it on a par with US for […]

Global music-streaming: ‘For growth you have to look outside of the Western markets’

Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon may dominate many of the discussions about music-streaming, but there is more to the global streaming market than the biggest players. A strand at Music Ally and Music Biz’s NY:LON Connect conference in London today explored life beyond the big beasts, although it started with Nielsen Music’s VP global Helena […]

Chinese government clamps down on short-video apps’ content

There may be trouble brewing for TikTok and the other ‘short-video’ apps that have proven so popular in China over the last year. The Financial Times reported on a new set of industry guidelines, directed by the Chinese government, which will hold these apps responsible for all content posted by their users. Examples of content […]

Tencent Xiaowei virtual-assistant will link to QQ Music

Just as Apple gets set to launch its HomePod (Siri voice-assistant included) in China, so local tech giant Tencent is preparing to launch a new smart-assistant of its own. It’s called Xiaowei, and according to Bloomberg will make its debut within Tencent’s hugely-popular WeChat messaging app. “The assistant will link to a plethora of Tencent’s […]

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