At the start of December 2020, rumours swirled about the future of Xiami, one of the established music streaming services in China. Local reports suggested that its owner, tech giant Alibaba, was preparing to shut the service down at the start of 2021.
Today, the news has been confirmed by Xiami itself, with news sites TechCrunch and KrAsia translating the statement for the benefit of English speakers. Xiami is shutting down on 5 February, 12 years after launching. In the meantime, its users will be able to transfer their playlists and account data to other platforms.
KrAsia’s report cites recent stats from research company Fastdata, suggesting that in October last year Xiami had 22 million monthly active users. A big number in the west, but well behind rivals like Tencent Music’s QQ Music (201.2m), Kugou Music (187.7m) and Kuwo Music (72.5m) as well as NetEase Cloud Music (89m).
(These aren’t official stats: Tencent Music’s last financial results claimed 646 million mobile monthly active users across its three online music services, while NetEase Cloud Music’s official figure is more than 800 million registered users.)
Its smaller size didn’t stop Xiami innovating: witness its deal in 2019 to become the first Chinese DSP to use MQA’s hi-res music technology. The company’s Yinluo (or ‘Conch Music’) B2B subsidiary is not being shut down, meanwhile: it will live on with a number of clients in China.
Alibaba isn’t getting out of music streaming entirely, either: it bought a reportedly-$700m stake in NetEase Cloud Music in 2019. The Alibaba/NetEase relationship may now be key to keeping Tencent Music on its toes as the Chinese streaming market continues to evolve.
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