Mashable has a brief, but no less fascinating, piece on QQ Music, the Chinese streaming music service that now claims, while other services in the West continue to rack up debts, to be profitable.
It is owned by Tencent – which has its fingers in many digital pies, including social networking, gaming and the WeChat messaging app. Mashable claims that, because WeChat reaches 762m active users, it has the whip hand when negotiating with labels and publishers – a position of power that the likes of Pandora and Spotify can only stare at with mounting envy. It also, through ticketing sales, is heading towards that mythical status – the full-stack music company. Its reach is staggering, with a reported 100m daily users on QQ Music and 400m who access it at least once a month. Free is a huge part of its operation and it is not clear what the ARPU is, but iResearch suggests 57% of users will have bought something via the app this year. While big, it is expected to get bigger still as Tencent announced recently it is planning to buy rival music services Kugou and Kuwo (owned by China Music Corporation), effectively doubling its reach. Last year, China was ranked the 14th largest music market globally by IFPI, with a trade value of $169m. While this may look relatively small given China is the most populous nation in the world with 1.3b inhabitants, the music industry has a lot to be optimistic about. Firstly, the recorded music market in China was 89% digital last year and income was up a frankly startling 63.8% from 2014.