As an artist or musician you may be curious about the listening habits of music consumers in China. Here at Musicinfo, we asked 38 Chinese students who worked on one of our recent research and development projects about the services they use, the kind of music they like, when they listen to music and more.
As you may already know, there is a wealth of music streaming services exclusive to China with many interactive and listener-centric features. Our survey showed that two services in particular stood out as the most used among our participants; Netease Cloud Music claimed nearly 58% of listeners while QQ Music (owned by Tencent Corporation) came in a close second with 55%. Another Tencent owned service Kugou music was the third most popular service named by our respondents.
Rather than being die-hard fans of one particular musical style or genre, a range of music is used by listeners to compliment their range of moods, emotions and activities. Pop and Rock were the most frequently mentioned genres but instrumental, hip-hop, R&B, electronic, downtempo, folk, jazz and classical were also popular among listeners. Listeners were also found to value Western music highly as 61% of the respondents said they preferred to listen to Western music or Chinese and Western music equally.
Listeners use music to self-soothe before bedtime or brighten up inescapable everyday tasks; there is music suitable for almost every situation in these users’ waking lives. Our Chinese students stream music during the workday, while studying, at the gym, on walks, on public transport, while doing household chores, while cooking, while reading and even while reading. It is clear that music is a central part of modern life for many young Chinese people, you could almost say it’s a lifestyle. It is worth bearing this in mind when deciding what kind of music you want to release in China and envision how it will enrich different areas of your listeners’ lives. Whether they were feeling sad, angry, relaxed, lonely, unfocused, unmotivated, bored or in a good mood; users reported that they had music prepared to accompany any occasion or state of mind.
The majority of our students told us they find new music through playlists, streaming service algorithms, social media (China’s TikTok and Baidu) and popular media such as tv series, adverts, reality shows and films. Internet radio, charts, friends and review websites were other sources for discovering new music but they weren’t as heavily emphasised. This says a lot about the world we live in and how independent artists can take advantage of these trends; finding a way to interact with fans in China could be the push you need to succeed. Artists can create social media profiles free of charge, some of the major platforms include Douyin (TikTok), Baidu, Weibo and WeChat.
Adding video content to your online portfolio is also a good way to reach new fans, Bilibili is a popular site where you can host livestreams and post music videos, find out more about it here. To get exposure in the Chinese market is key - pitching your music to playlists is a great way to get your music heard by lifelong fans you may not reach otherwise. Sync licensing - that is getting your music featured in films, tv series, games, adverts and more has been growing in popularity in recent years and could really give you a leg up when it comes to breaking China as an artist.
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