On April Fool's Day in 2018, fans of Jay Chou received an April Fool's Day joke-Jay Chou's music will almost no longer be able to be heard on NetEase Cloud. In order to continue to listen to songs on NetEase Cloud, fans began to buy the "Jay Chou Hot Song Collection" recommended by NetEase Cloud at a price of 400 yuan. Subsequently, #400元包装周杰伦歌# was posted on Weibo's hot search.
You may remember from the story that NetEase Cloud pushed the letter of apology in response to its infringement, and Tencent Music Entertainment Group also responded positively to this incident.
But the fact that there is no way to change is that you cannot hear Jay Chou on NetEase Cloud today.
▲ The collection of Jay Chou's hit songs is priced at 400
The change may start today.
On August 31, Tencent Music issued a statement stating that it had given up the exclusive right to authorize music copyright, and the upstream copyright party could authorize other operators on its own. This means that as long as an operator like NetEase Cloud can reach a consensus with all copyright parties, you can hear all songs on a music app.
It just so happened that NetEase also announced its own financial report on the same day. Ding Lei also responded to Tencent Music’s statement at the financial report meeting: "I look forward to this as a sincere and sincere decision, which does not contain any wrongdoing decision."
▲ Tencent announcement
Who started the dispute over music exclusive rights?
Issues related to music exclusive rights have also been a result of the intervention of the General Administration of Market Supervision. But after a paragraph in the era of exclusive copyright, everyone's point of contention became who did it first. Some people say that the instigator is Tencent, and some people explain that NetEase Cloud Music has pioneered it, but it can't compete with Tencent Music, which has more money.
In fact, none of these two are innocent. After all, market competition, one moves forward, and the other is sailing against the current. If you don't follow up, you will be eliminated. Tang Ziyu, the founder of digital music copyright commercial distribution platform VFine Music, said in an interview with Zhongxin Jingwei : "Exclusive music copyright has attracted much attention since the copyright war between Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music began in 2016."
But this kind of copyright struggle actually started as early as 2015.
On July 8, 2015, the National Copyright Administration issued the "Notice on Ordering Online Music Service Providers to Stop Unauthorized Distribution of Music", requiring major online music service providers to release all unauthorized music works before July 31. All offline .
Unauthorized need to be removed, which proves that the authorized platform can create a moat that is difficult to cross through a large amount of exclusive content. They did so, which caused the price of exclusive music rights after 2015 to rise steadily in the competition between the two sides.
In 2017, NetEase Cloud Music spent 20 million to acquire the exclusive rights to the digital music of Pu Shu's album "Orion". In the same year, Tencent also acquired the exclusive rights to Universal Music for USD 350 million (RMB 2.263 billion) and USD 100 million in equity.
Behind the increasing numbers that make musicians happy, it is almost impossible for music platforms to recoup or even profit by selling albums.
The user experience is also terrible. Even if you become a member, buy an album, and occasionally want to listen to some other music search, you can only see the grayed-out song titles. This frustration is hurting. In order to be able to hear their favorite music as much as possible, users have to download three or four music apps and use them in rotation.
It is correct to protect the copyright of musicians, but the General Administration of Market Supervision will not sit back and watch the music platform gain a monopoly on the market by acquiring a large number of exclusive music copyrights. In 2017, the National Copyright Administration interviewed four music platforms and more than 20 record companies at home and abroad, requesting to avoid purchasing exclusive copyrights.
Since then, Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music have reached a copyright cooperation, and the number of songs mutually authorized by Tencent and NetEase Cloud Music has reached 99%. It sounds very good, we only have 1% of the music that we can’t listen to, but the truth is that you basically only listen to that 1% of the songs. Interviews and copyright cooperation have failed to solve the fundamental problems. There is no other way but to go further-order Tencent to lift the exclusive copyright within 30 days.
This time, the directionality is more clear. In the penalty statement issued by the Market Supervision Bureau, only Tencent, which had won the battle for exclusive music rights, was mentioned.
In 2016, Tencent and China Music Group accounted for about 30% and 40% of relevant market shares respectively. Tencent has obtained a higher market share by merging with major competitors in the market. After the concentration, the entity owns more than 80% of the exclusive music library resources. It may be able to urge upstream copyright parties to reach more exclusive copyright agreements with them, or require them to be better than others. Competitors’ trading conditions may also be able to increase market entry barriers through copyright payment models such as high advance payments, which have or may have the effect of eliminating or restricting competition in the relevant market.
Others fight for copyright, and Douyin has become the "Divine Comedy Maker" and "New Song First Place"
In 2018, the brainwashing melody and gesture dance of "Learn to Meow" came out of Douyin and became popular throughout the Internet. It even won the Billboard Radio China Annual Top Ten Chinese Golden Melody Awards, which made the music industry aware of Douyin's "virus". The power of spread.
▲ Feng Timo dances "Learn to Meow" gesture dance
In the past, we opened the music platform and swayed with three to five minutes of music; while the emergence of short video platforms such as Douyin turned "listening to music" into "watching music", and people's consumption and production of music were rapidly changed.
In Douyin, a song must be able to brainwash the user within 15 seconds, grab the user’s ear, and have a sense of picture and story, so that it can be easily matched with a simple dance or a dramatic video plot. This means that — to be a hit on Douyin, it does not actually need to be from a particularly famous singer, as long as the melody is catchy enough and suitable for secondary creation.
This actually gave niche singers and independent musicians more opportunities, and it also opened up another window for Douyin to break into the music industry at a stage where the copyright dispute was intensifying.
You will find that Douyin has suddenly become a fairly fair stage: whether it is a past artist or a popular fried chicken, an old song cover or a new song first release, you have to go through this 15-second short video mechanism to know who you are. Can eventually become a hit.
Take "You Who Love 105°C" frequently dominating the charts in the first half of this year as an example. Although the singer A Si has signed with Modern Sky for a long time, he has been tepid. And this song is not a new song. It was an advertising song created for Watsons in 2019, but it finally made a splash with a refreshing feeling. So far, the data of Douyin shows that #热爱105度的你的主题视频 has been played up to 4.33 billion times.
"Super idol's smile is not as sweet as yours, and the sun at noon in August is not as dazzling as you…"
People who have listened to the lyrics fragment on Douyin will go to QQ Music Search to listen to the complete song. "You Who Love 105°C" quickly soared to the first place in multiple rankings. QQ Music data shows that the song has been on the hot song chart for 19 weeks.
Today, it has become a consensus for music dissemination to first refresh the screen with a short video BGM of more than ten seconds on Douyin, and then spread to the mainstream music platform. This kind of network-wide traffic, popularity and influence has also attracted singers such as Cai Xukun, Zhang Jie, Deng Ziqi, Hu Yanbin, and Lu Han to debut or promote new songs on Douyin.
However, it is not enough to affect the out-of-circle dissemination of a song. Douyin also hopes to have an impact on the upstream music industry and impact the traditional music production and distribution model.
In 2018, Douyin launched the "Seeing Music Project" to excavate and support original musicians, and later launched the "Musicians 100 Million Dollar Subsidy Program". The "2020 Douyin Music Ecological Data Report" shows that in the first half of last year, the number of musicians on the Douyin platform increased by nearly 30,000, and the total number of top 10 hit songs reached 94.5 billion.
Nowadays, some music companies will also consider the spread of songs on Douyin during the production stage , and even have a dedicated "Tik Tok Hot Song Planning" team, which can create a "Tik Tok Divine Comedy" within 2 hours of getting up.
▲ A collection of some vibrato divine songs on YouTube
And Douyin's parent company, Bytedance, is testing a brand new music agency distribution platform "Galaxy Ark" recently. After the musician authorizes the work, Galaxy Ark will distribute it to over 200 music platforms in over 100 countries/regions, including QQ Music, NetEase Cloud Music, Spotify, Apple Music, TikTok, and TikTok.
It sounds really ambitious.
There is Jay Chou, how do you differentiate the music platform?
For a long time, everyone regarded copyright as the moat of a music platform. But there is no longer a bloodshed to grab exclusive rights. Every household can have Jay Chou. What else can music platforms rely on to attract and retain users?
The case of NetEase Cloud Music may give us some inspiration.
First of all, the cake of independent musicians may become the next market to compete for.
In the period when the copyright dispute was at a disadvantage, NetEase Cloud Music once relied on independent musicians to retain the characteristics and appeal of its niche literature and art. Like Chen Li, Liu Haolin, Chen Hongyu, Good Sister, and Lao Fan next door are all original musicians who have moved from here to the mainstream.
▲Chen Hongyu, pictured from the Beijing News
As of January this year, NetEase Cloud Music has 230,000 independent musicians settled in . Prospectus data shows that there are currently 60 million songs on NetEase Cloud Music, of which 1 million are contributed by independent musicians.
In June last year, NetEase Cloud Music reached a strategic cooperation with Indie Works, an alliance of independent music labels, and will conduct further discussions in the fields of music copyright, self-made programs, music festivals, Livehouse tours, and music live broadcasts. The musicians in collaboration include Hedgehog Band, Click#15, Face Band, and even Dou Wei, Second-hand Rose and other great gods in the circle. This lineup makes people have to say: "Old NetEase Cloud!"
The scramble for independent musicians is essentially to earn more high-quality content under the command.
QQ Music, which currently has 200,000 independent musicians, seems to lack some obvious features, but QQ Music is also not included in music variety shows and film and television dramas such as "Summer of the Band" and "Tomorrow's Son" through the cooperation with Tencent Video. Less music content is another effective way of thinking.
▲ You have to open a VIP to listen to the full version
Social networking may be the other direction.
Today, NetEase Cloud Music users will call themselves "Yuncun Residents", and even niche artists can be found here. The daily push list is guessing your thoughts every day. Although the 999+ comment area is always called " "Net Yiyun" and "Story Meeting", but they are really exciting. Users who have never known each other can also make friends based on music taste through the "Listen Together" function of NetEase Cloud Music.
The creation of the community and the consideration of various social details are making NetEase Cloud Music "more than just a music player."
▲ NetEase Cloud Music's "Music Critic Train" subway event
But whether it’s a music player or not, the era of relying on exclusive copyrights to eat all over the world has passed. When copyright issues cannot establish a moat for the platform, experience, activities, communities, and interesting content may become the key to whether the platform can win users.
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