Competition remains fierce in the crowded music streaming market. Xiaomi Music has become the first Chinese mobile phone manufacturer to obtain licensing rights to Warner Music’s catalog, while NetEase Cloud Music is adding video sharing features. However, established services Kugou Music (酷狗音乐 or “Cool Dog Music” in English) and QQ Music continue to dominate the market.

The music streaming market has had a few turbulent years. QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, Alibaba-owned Xiami Music and Kugou Music have all been involved in license infringement lawsuits and counter-suits with each other or multiple competitors in the market. This led to the government enforcing strict music copyright regulations in 2015, even briefly terminating Xiami Music’s services. With a sounder legal framework in place, the industry has shifted its focus to obtaining legal rights for coveted music catalogs and increasing paid subscriptions.

Recently, new player Xiaomi Music has gained the rights to Warner Music’s catalogs, adding to its collection of major international labels which includes Sony and Universal. However, this pales in comparison to the music catalog of other big players. Tencent’s QQ Music has licensing agreements with over 200 music companies.

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Linda Lew

Linda Lew is a Beijing-based journalist who covers technology, start-ups and business in China. You can reach her at lindalew at aliyun dot com.