Since the summer of last year, China has been one of the only places in the world that doesn’t still face mass cancellations for events. It’s been great so far for Chinese artists, who’ve still mostly had free range to tour and make money, as shown by EDM DJs and indie bands doing national tours. Now, it seems the restrictions on foreign artists are also starting to ease. In January, Maurice West and Dash Berlin became the first foreign DJs to tour China since the pandemic. After what I assume were significant visa and paperwork hurdles, and a quarantine period, they both had multi-city tours and received a warm welcome in every city they visited. They also both launched local social accounts to try to reach that fanbase and provide an outlet for their news on the road. Here’s to hoping this is only the beginning of these tours. Meanwhile, the in-between time has spawned some great hybrid events, like CEA festival which went beyond the ubiquitous live stream to have a hologram Eric Prydz and Alesso alongside local acts in front of live fans.

Mixmag China // MW + DB Interviews

Bandwagon // How Live Concerts In China Have Returned Amidst A COVID-19 World

Mixmax Asia // China Quietly Bounces Back With A 15,000 Person EDM Festival Headlined By Eric Prydz & Alesso


Bytedance, owners of Douyin and TikTok, is now formally accusing Tencent of monopolistic behavior in WeChat and QQ, claiming they are blocking content from Douyin on the WeChat and QQ platforms. It’s an older issue which is now being kicked up a notch. In our experience, WeChat does not ‘play nice’ with other platforms that are not owned by Tencent. It’s surprisingly difficult to send your friend links to, say, a Taobao shop, a Douyin video, or other cross-platform content, unless your app has a WeChat mini-program. If Bytedance is successful in their suit, an ‘opening up’ of WeChat could allow for easier promotion of music and video using WeChat.

Music Ally // Bytedance Sues Tencent In China Over Wechat And QQ Policies

Bloomberg // Bytedance Sues Arch-Rival Tencent Over Alleged Monopolies


According with Tencent Music’s stats, the number of users who are listening to long-form audio has increased quite a bit, more than double over last year, though still far from what we see on Spotify. [sounds like the most recent report on paying users 🤔] Chinese users are now digging into podcasts, audiobooks, and sets over several apps more then ever, and the company is expanding to suit. Groove Dynasty has long found podcasts or radio shows as a successful way for artists and labels to reach a new audience and build followers on NetEase as well. The label Monstercat even records a Chinese version of their show to use locally, nearing 40k subscribers on NetEase for the show.

Music Ally // 11.7% Of Tencent Music’s Users Are Listening To Long-Form Audio

Press Release // TME Group Invests in Audio Entertainment Ecosystem to Drive Long-term Growth

// SAD

An older story here, we’re including it to give some insight into the culture of NetEase and their comment sections. If you’ve ever joined a conference call with Groove Dynasty, you’ll have heard us talk about how important comments are on the platform for fan engagement, education, and excitement. It’s truly awesome and unique compared to all other music platforms. This, it turns out, can take a dark turn as well, as fueled by the NetEmo meme and the company’s push to support its sad users.

TechNode // How NetEase Cloud Music Became a Therapy Platform

SCMP // Music streaming app NetEase to step up content moderation after trolls target depressed people during pandemic

Sixth Tone // NetEase to Provide Counseling Services for Depressed Music Fans

// editor’s note

Party people! Thanks so much for reading these newsletters, we here at Groove Dynasty are working hard to create value for our readers and those interested in the China music market at any level. China tech headline roundups are a dime a dozen, these stories are carefully selected for people active in the music scene, and all comments are my own.


We’ve decided to include a new section in the newsletter, highlighting local Chinese artists, DJs, and labels. Listen up for collab ideas, a better understanding of the local scene (or to learn some Chinese?), we’ll include a link and a playlist each time. This week is pop, next month we’ll do some EDM artists and DJs. Enjoy!


One of our best discoveries this month was Asian Pop Weekly, an English website promoting Mandarin and Asian Pop Music [shoutout to Gig Life Pro for the tip]. APW also has a podcast called ‘Level Up’ and their own newsletter, both of which we recommend. Website link below and Spotify playlist that wraps up 2020’s best picks!


Spotify Playlist // APW’s Uniting Bops Shortlist

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