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Spotify patent reveals karaoke feature with auto-tuned vocals

Karaoke is a big earner for Tencent Music in China, so can it fulfil a similar role for the big western streaming services? Spotify may be one of the first to try.

After recent speculation that it’s working on a karaoke feature, MBW has unearthed a patent granted to Spotify in the US this month for “methods and systems for overlaying and playback of audio data received from distinct sources”.

One of those sources being the listeners themselves: “Users may, for example, wish to overlay a music track with their own vocals by singing into a microphone as the music plays”.

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As Twitch Sings shuts down, Snapchat gets a karaoke game

Twitch recently announced that it was shutting down its karaoke game Twitch Sings, including removing all the archived broadcasts and clips using it. But where one karaoke game closes, another one pops up backed by a different digital platform.

That game is called SingHeads, and the platform is Snapchat, which is an official partner. Released initially for iPhone with Android to follow, the game gets people to log in to their Snapchat accounts, then sing along to a rotating selection of popular songs – recent hits like ‘Despacito’, ‘Shape of You’ and ‘Shotgun’ as well as golden tracks from ABBA, Queen and Robbie Williams.

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Tencent’s WeSing is keeping China’s karaoke sector thriving

Karaoke is enormously popular with people of all ages in China, with millions flocking to ‘KTV venues’ [karaoke bars] to partake in singalongs.

The Chinese government’s 2019 China Music Industry Development Report valued the karaoke sector at RMB 101.07bn (nearly $14.6bn) in 2019, up 12.3% year-on-year with that rise driven in part by online karaoke services.

Tencent’s app WeSing (known as K Song in China) is the biggest player, estimated to account for 77% of online karaoke users in China, including a younger, wealthier demographic. 25-29 year-olds are 50.3% of its user base, with half of them having high incomes and living in major cities like Beijing.

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NetEase Cloud Music saw ‘triple-digit revenue growth’ in Q2

Chinese technology firm NetEase published its latest financial results last week, with no new figures for its NetEase Cloud Music streaming service. However, the service was mentioned in the subsequent earnings call with analysts.

“For NetEase Cloud Music, we continued to see triple-digit revenue growth in the second quarter year over year, with both membership and live streaming striking new highs,” said chief financial officer Charles Yang.

That revenue total wasn’t quantified, but NetEase Cloud Music sits within NetEase’s ‘innovative businesses and others’ category in its financials, which saw revenues grow by 39% year-on-year to RMB 3.7bn ($533.4m) last quarter.