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 for the efforts of one of them, UMG, concern a local signing: young artist Linong Chen, whose ‘Unbelonging”(格格不入)’ album came out on 29 May. “Within its first two weeks on sale, the album has been confirmed to have achieved double diamond certification by QQ Music, with over 500,000 combined albums sold on the platform,” announced UMG. “The album reached diamond status within 1 minute of release, generating more than 4.5 million individual track sales within its first 12 hours on sale.”
In its first week on sale, the album sold more than 510k combined album units across all services: QQ but also NetEase Cloud Music, Kugou and Kuwo. The obvious thing to remind you of here is that Tencent Music owns three of those four (NetEase Cloud Music being the odd one out), and that it’s also part of the consortium led by parent company Tencent Holdings that acquired 10% of UMG earlier this year, with a possible 10% more to come.
In separate China news today, WMG’s publishing arm Warner Chappell has opened its second office in mainland China, in Shanghai, shortly after announcing a deal with NetEase Cloud Music in May, plus a raft of local signings. China has historically been a challenging market for publishing rights and songwriter royalties: in its last annual report, global collecting society body CISAC reported a 41% growth in music collections in China for 2018 – but that was only around $41m.
Finally, a reminder of the scale that’s possible on China’s digital services. Kuaishou is a video and livestreaming service with 300 million daily active users: it’s one of the main rivals to Douyin, which is TikTok’s Chinese version. It recently hosted a nine-hour charity concert launched by artist Li Yuer. According to Kuaishou, more than two million people watched the concert, while Li Yuer herself streams live to more than 400,000 Kuaishou users every day.
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