The live stream space in China is active and crowded, with millions watching streams every day, and companies vying for valuable watchers, who pay for streams largely by tipping in digital gifts. This article aims to outline each of the active platforms in China, and give a short background of each.
Live Stream Platforms
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- 150 Million monthly active users (2019)
- Most popular among gamers, live musicians
- Majority owned by Tencent
Huya is often referred to as the “Twitch of China”, meaning that a majority of their users are there to watch gamers or live stream their own games. That said, there are many great music channels, and the company is awesome about regularly supporting live sets from artists and DJs. Labels like Monstercat and Spinnin’ Records have 24-hour streams on the platform, and other local DJs do regular shows.
Groove Dynasty ran a 10-hour live stream for Revealed Recordings’ 10 year anniversary on Huya, and a month’s worth of weekly drum’n’bass sessions for Hospital Records.
The company recently announced plans to merge with DouYu, it’s largest direct competitor in this space.
LOOK (NetEase Cloud Music)
NetEase’s dedicated live stream platform, LOOK is available in that app and as a standalone. It’s not just for music, but musicians are the most active here. The label Chillhop (of ‘lofi hip hop radio – beats to relax/study to’ fame) has a 24-hour stream here of instrumental music. Chinese solo singers doing karaoke-style sets are also popular here.
- 130 Million monthly active users (2020)
- Live stream and VOD platform
- Popular among ‘nerd culture’: anime, electronic music, video games
Bilibili is becoming very well known as a standard video platform. It got its start as an app for anime fans, and is very popular among the electronic music community. The live stream section of the app is also massive, featuring users in music, games, and more.
At the height of COVID in early 2020, they featured many electronic music sets from Top 100 DJs and other acts in a series called 云蹦迪 which were extremely popular.
Another platform that started as a video platform and moved into live streams, DouYin has cemented 2020 as a banner year being one of the biggest apps in the world. Like it’s counterpart TikTok, it had explosive growth, and in China increased its feature set along with its users to include live streams.
This launched earlier this year with a multi-day live stream festival called Douland which featured around 20 international DJs including Alan Walker, Vicetone, and Lost Frequencies.
Fanlive (QQ Music via Tencent Music)
A new entry to this space as of mid-2020, QQ Music is mirroring NetEase with their own in-app live stream offering, titled Fanlive. They launched with banner performances from Dua Lipa and have more in the works.
Photos below courtesy news site http://36kr.com.
- Launched by Weibo in 2016
- 550 Million monthly active users (Weibo)
- Popular among average users, Chinese KOLs
The popular microblogging platform Weibo holds it’s own platform called YiZhiBo. The allure for its users is that you can easily cross-promote live streams with your existing Weibo account, and vice-versa. Like others in this list, they used a live event focused around pop music to promote the app, though its numbers lag behind the others for most users.
Honorable Mention: Taobao
Taobao is an e-commerce app, not a social media platform, and not a live-stream platform. It has nothing to do with music. That said, its users have long used live streams to sell clothing, makeup, and other products. It’s great for the app, who has many features to keep users online for longer, and great for the sellers, who can use their following and popularity to make commissions on what the sell.
Rihanna, via her company FENTY BEAUTY, did a live stream on Taobao which garnered millions of viewers in the launch of that company online.
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