Entgroup: Original Music Becomes A New Driving Force of Chinese Music Market, Online Video Platforms Shape New Music Appreciation Habits Among the Audience

Entgroup, China’s leading entertainment industry consulting firm, recently released a report titled “White Paper on the 2019 Chinese Original Music Market“. According to the report, despite the global decline of the recorded music industry, China’s music market has continued to grow, ranking in the world’s top 10 for the first time in 2017 and top 7 in 2018 by revenue. In addition, the scale of the Chinese music industry is expected to grow from 347.1 billion yuan (50.43 billion USD) in 2017 to 523.5 billion yuan (76.06 billion USD) in 2023.

The report indicates that original music is becoming a major driving force of the Chinese music industry due to the improvement of copyright protection, the increase of copyright awareness and technological development that enables paid music service, and the rise of online video platforms like iQIYI as new original music distribution and consumption channels.

The report offers an extensive analysis of the Chinese original music industry by integrating data from sources including the IFPI (International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), China Audio-video and Digital Publishing Association and Entgroup’s think tank, by investigating music-related services from major Chinese online video platforms, with a focus on popular online variety shows that feature original music.

“Original music-themed variety shows produced by online video platforms have become a new driving force in the original music market and shapes the music appreciation habits of audiences,” said Liu Cuiping, Vice President at Entgroup. “iQIYI, for example, has brought innovation to China’s music market by enriching the variety of original music production and performance and expanding original music distribution and profiting model. It is also supporting the expansion of cross-industry development through their original variety shows.”

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Key findings in the report:

  • China’s digital music market is entering a phase of steady growth, showing an average yearly increase of 7.9%. With a market scale of over 60 billion yuan (8.72 billion USD) in 2018, China is expected to break through the 90 billion yuan (13.08 billion USD) mark in 2023.
  • Owing to the constant improvement of the internet and smartphone devices, music applications and an increase in copyright awareness, the consumption of digital music has mainly transferred from PC to mobile apps; and from free downloads of pirated music to paid downloads of copyrighted music.
  • Online variety shows will become a new platform for original music. In 2019, iQIYI broadcasted hit original music shows such as CZR, The Big Band and The Rap of China 2019. CZR, a show that features a competition among singer-songwriters, has promoted 18 musicians and 92 songs. With its strong influence and user advantage, iQIYI has successfully increased the market’s interest in original music and musicians to create an encouraging and innovative environment for music to develop.
  • Online video platforms effectively integrated online and offline resources of the music industry, and formed an O2O distribution matrix of original music. As for the profiting model, the cooperation of original music industry and online video platforms will further open online channels and explore diverse business B2B and B2C models. For example, iQIYI co-created a music distribution system with record labels and music platforms and profited from advertisements and sponsorships, copyright, fan economy and performance brokerage.

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Future development of Chinas original music industry:

  • The number of singer-songwriters in China will undergo a foreseeable increase by the support of original music through online music and video platforms, which will lead to the rise in quantity and quality of original music content and diversification in music styles.
  • Online video platforms will continuously change the audience’s habit of music appreciation – from “listening” to music to “watching” music – which fosters potential for the future development of online video platforms as significant music creation, distribution and profiting channels.
  • The rise of online music and video platforms is fostering an online-and-offline distribution system that centres around these platforms. The first music market is expected to grow as online video platforms increasingly strengthen their links with record labels, music and vlog platforms and e-commerce platforms.
  • The future development of the Chinese music industry is expected to centre on original music. With the construction and extension of original music industrial chains, stronger copyright protection and users’ increasing copyright awareness, Chinese original music is about to enter its “golden age”.

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