Launched in 2013 by one of China’s largest online game publishers, NetEase Cloud Music began as a music sharing platform. While competitors focused on growing their content libraries, NetEase Cloud Music has concentrated on user experience by embedding strong social networking features in its streaming services. Songs available on its platform come with features designed to encourage user-generated commentary and discussion. Independent and up-and-coming artists can build their own followings by establishing fan-based interest groups on the platform.

NetEase Cloud Music is currently China’s second largest music streaming platform, with over 800 million registered users, just behind New York-listed Tencent Music. 90% of its active users are under 29. The platform’s popularity and user demographics have helped it to grow its content range, with a number of copyright deals and partnerships with prominent labels including Universal Music Group and BMG last year.

To keep growing the platform has plans to increase investment in independent artists and work closely with the agencies that promote influencers on social media. It is also expanding in emerging markets such as Africa by pre-installing its streaming service on popular phone brands.

NetEase Cloud Music’s income mostly comes from membership fees, advertising and live broadcasting revenues. It has raised a total of $1.35 billion in three rounds of financing since 2017, counting Alibaba and Baidu among its investors.

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