In 2018 the revenue of China’s digital music market was 7.63 billion Yuan with a relatively high growth. Particularly, the market obtained 113.2% YoY growth around 2015 when policies regarding music copyright protection was released.
The revenue of China’s digital music platforms mainly comes from user payment, advertising revenue and copyright operation. Before the copyright revolution, advertising was the main revenue source of digital music platforms. However, the advertising monetization ability of digital music platforms is relatively weak due to the limited advertising forms like app start-page ads and banner ads. As a result, the revenue growth of advertising businesses slowed down its pace and the share of user payment kept expanding. Meanwhile, the copyright operation revenue in 2018 stimulated a new revenue boom in digital music industry. In this scenario, digital music platforms authorize third-party institutions copyrights of the music works and actively explore the value of music copyrights, which makes more diversified business modes possible.
According to data from RIAA, the earliest user payment recorded in US digital music market was in 2005. The payment scale increased fast in the following years and gradually became the main revenue source of digital music platforms, taking the places of EP income, album income and other physical disc income. In China, the first user payment appeared no later than in US, while due to the massive pirate copyright works, lack of related policies and regulations and the underdeveloped user payment consciousness, user payment has not achieved a large revenue scale in China until the first fast growth in 2014, 10 years later than the growth in US. Thus, China digital music industry compared with in other countries is still in its initial stage and enjoys huge future development potential.
Under the background of the favorable policies and investments, digital music industry is expected to have a bright future. As one important section in pan entertainment ecology, digital music also attracted many top Internet companies and the competition was once very fierce. After Tencent Music Entertainment Group got listed, the market structure was gradually settled and presented significant 2-8 structure, that is, top platforms occupied most of the market and the room for long-tail platforms was little. However, as the industry develops continuously, many digital music platforms made user-demand-oriented vertical field exploration. Therefore, the industry is still embedded with great potential for changes and development. Meanwhile, short video platforms also started businesses in digital music field based on their outstanding music popularization ability, which might give rise to potential competitions to digital music industry as well.