CHINA // INDUSTRY NEWS
// TAYLOR SWIFT MAKES A MILLION DOLLARS IN CHINA
Well, I don’t know how much she personally made. But many are touting her new album’s success within China, led by NetEase Cloud Music and QQ Music who had giant banners and dedicated pages in their app for the album all week. Note that the album was for sale (not for streaming) on these platforms, and through a popular ‘leaderboard’ model of fans buying multiple copies, it is making up a significant percentage of the album’s worldwide take.
Music Ally writes about NetEase “It passed the 200k mark in under six hours, and now at the time of writing (Monday morning) it has sold more than 330k copies as a digital album on the service. That’s nearly $1.2m of sales revenue from a single DSP in three days.”
Some on my staff were also paying astronomical international shipping fees to get a hoodie and limited edition vinyl shipped out here to China.
Something something something #superfan 😉
// WEIBO IMPOSES NEW RULES FOR POSTERS AND COMMENTERS
Weibo, frequently referred to as the ‘Chinese Twitter’ has gone through a few high-profile changes during Covid times, to take on spammers, people who share porn, and unsavory news making the trending topics list. In June, they suspended the trending list for one week, and will soon limit the links that you’re allowed to share in your posts.
The new restrictions will no doubt (a) reduce its influence in the social media sphere and (b) make the app a little less useful to marketers and active users. That said, the news highlights the power Weibo still holds in the public eye and among users, particularly for celebrity news and politics. Stay tuned for how the changes affect the music industry, who’s fans have already largely moved to other platforms for their music discussions and discovery.
// CHINA LOOKS TO INDEPENDENT ARTISTS
I’ve written in the past about the challenges China has to overcome in order to truly support indie musicians in the country. In an industry long dominated by A-list artists and celebrities (see Taylor Swift notes above as proof), there is a noted lack of music education, indie labels, and other support structures for small artists. A few recent pushes from Tencent and other international and local partners are looking to change that.
A recent project called IIMS (International Indie Music Season) is “a three-month project that kicks off with 3 days of music shows, industry talks and more”; those live stream panels were some of the best I’ve seen since the trend of online conferences began, I look forward to seeing more from them. Tencent is celebrating an anniversary with their ‘Indie Artists Initiative’ as well, quoted in a recent earnings call as saying “With such encouraging results in 2020, we plan for a strategic upgrade to take our indie musician program to the next level of development by offering more financial and operational support to independent musicians in order to help them realise their dreams”.
With the country’s borders still closed, there is undoubtedly a lot of opportunity for Chinese artists to thrive, but I see few really maximizing on that opportunity, at least from my post here in Shanghai.
// OUTDUSTRY LAUNCHES CHINA MUSIC PUBLISHING ARM OUTDUSTRY SONGS
While China has made significant strides in the reporting and paying of royalties from DSPs, publishing is still a difficult revenue stream to tap into in China, and the company Outdustry has been fighting the good fight for a number of years. Their new partnership as they say “is our pocket powerhouse of a publishing company. Hand-built by our own A&R and Rights service teams, this is the hottest independent publishing company in China right now.” Another great quote from their interview with MBW, “This is the beginning of a marathon, not a gold rush. Accessing publishing money in China is incredibly complex and getting a DSP license in place is just the beginning of the race.”
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