The parent company of Chinese music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music has published its latest financial results. Cloud Village saw its revenues grow by 42.9% to just under RMB 7bn (around $1.1bn) in 2021 as a whole.

Like rival Tencent Music, Cloud Village’s revenues are split between online music (NetEase Cloud Music) and social entertainment services (for example livestreaming) – although the latter also have a large music component.

NetEase Cloud Music ended the year with 182.6 million monthly active users, up just 1.2% year-on-year. However, it managed to grow its number of monthly paying users by 80.6% to 28.9 million by the end of 2021, which is impressive progress.

Revenues from online music grew by 25.4% to RMB 3.3bn ($518.6m) in 2021, thanks to the growth in subscriptions, with the average paying user spending RMB 6.7 ($1.05) a month.

Cloud Village said that “well above 30%” of its monthly active users were using NetEase Cloud Music on a daily basis, and that those daily active users (DAUs) averaged 78.2 minutes a day listening to music. Nearly half browsed the comments section, and 27% “generated content” themselves.

As for social entertainment, Cloud Village had just over 683,000 monthly paying users for those services, spending an average of RMB 448.1 ($70!) a month.

You can read the full financials announcement here, with plenty of information about the new features and programmes that NetEase Cloud Music has been rolling out. A library of sheet music; a platform for selling beats to musicians; audio artist comments and video-based ‘Music Gift Boxes’ are among them.

NetEase Cloud Music also says it now has more than 400,000 independent artists registered and uploading to its platform, which compares to the 300,000 figure announced by Tencent Music earlier this week.

It’s tempting to compare these stats to Spotify’s claim yesterday that it believes there are around 200,000 ‘professionally aspiring artists’ on its platform, and boggle at the sheer scale of China.

However, this isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison: Spotify’s figure was for artists with more than 10,000 monthly listeners, whereas Cloud Village and TME’s figures are for anyone who has registered and uploaded music. Even so, both companies’ direct relationships with independent artists remain key to their strategies.

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