New York, NY (Top40 Charts / Netease Cloud Music)
In recent years, the build-out of the internet infrastructure and the consistent growth of the economy have made mainland China an increasingly important global center for internet development. In the Chinese market, the trend to consume content and do one's shopping online has continued apace, with a slew of innovative and highly acclaimed internet services emerging, among which Netease Cloud Music, a service that was launched more than 3 years ago, serves as an illustrative example for the music sector.
Netease.com, Inc., one of the leading internet companies in China, was founded almost two decades ago and now has a market value exceeding $US 35 billion. Netease Cloud Music
was first released internally in 2013. Netease founder and CEO Ding Lei (who also goes by William Ding) saw the music site as a key component of the larger company and, with Netease Cloud Music
founding member and CEO Zhu Yiwen, personally took charge of the project, constantly making changes to the platform until they each felt fully satisfied with the performance and customer experience. Just on the single item of the how quickly - how many revolutions per minute - the image of the vinyl record spun on the play page, they adjusted it more than two dozen times. As a result, the music service quickly garnered a lot of attention among music lovers and became the go-to venue for a large user base since it was launched in April, 2013.
Netease Cloud Music
CEO Zhu Yiwen
At the outset, the core concept was that the service would be driven by the ability of users to create their own playlists, yet, aside from the basic requirements for searching and listening to music, Netease Cloud Music
has since added many social media features, expanding the horizon of what a music site is all about and giving listeners the opportunity to learn about the music and the performers. As a result, the service has built for itself an excellent reputation across the Chinese music industry.
April, 2013, Netease Cloud Music
formally went online.
February, 2014, the number of users exceeded 20 million.
August, 2014, the number of users exceeded 40 million.
December, 2014, more than 55 million music lovers were using the platform.
July, 2015, the number of users broke the 100 million mark.
July, 2016, the number of users broke the 200 million mark.
In just three short years, Netease Cloud Music
has attracted more than 200 million music lovers, something unprecedented among similar online services in the history of the music industry.
In October, 2016, China's widely-read economic journal CBN Weekly released its "Top Brands Ranking for 2016", and, based on the music service's excellent performance during the year, Netease Cloud Music
was selected as one of the "Rising Star Brands". It was the only music application brand in the category.
Compared to older music apps that had been released in China, Netease Cloud Music
has become so popular that its fans are active on most major social media networks such as zhihu.com (the Chinese version of Quora.com), the various microblog platforms, Wechat (a free message and phone app, similar to but with more features than Skype) and several BBS's. The level of stickiness that the service has developed with its users, reflected by the number of comments that fans leave on the pages dedicated to the individual songs, is being viewed by music industry insiders as a kind of miracle within the Chinese music market.
The single "A Sunny Day" by renowned Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou
has already garnered more than one million comments on the service. Recently Netease Cloud Music
was the first to release the single "Chengdu" by Chinese balladeer Zhao Lei, immediately accumulating a huge number of comments on the service, which were then quickly and widely shared across the social media networks, becoming, in short order, a social phenomenon. Mainstream media across China immediately noticed and gave the "story" wide coverage. Within 24 hours after "Chengdu" was released on Netease Cloud Music, more than 30 thousand comments discussing every finite aspect of the song had been posted, including narrative comments that drew the interest of other users on the platform and magnified the viral effect.
The following is some data relating to this year's performance released by Netease Cloud Music:
1,500 signed singers;
More than 20,000 contract musicians who produce original music;
A music database consisting of more than 10 million legal copies of top quality music;
More than 100 million playlists created by users;
More than 200 million comments.
The rapid development of Netease Cloud Music
is undoubtedly attributed to the excellent user experience.
The Netease Cloud Music
CEO, Zhu Yiwen, recently said in an interview: user experience should always come first. The CEO has already made it a must that upon arriving at work each morning, he first reads the data report of the previous day, then he searches for "Netease Cloud Music" on the microblog websites and reads the messages left by users to see if there is anything he needs to do once he spots an issue. In a move to provide the users with better services, he has set up a user feedback channel, where nearly 100,000 comments are received daily and a categorization system places the corresponding comments into comment bins based on if it is advice for the app or a complaint about a technical bug, in which case, based on the nature of the complaint, the comment is placed in the bin for the appropriate team. Compared to the usual service procedures at other companies, the CEO, who has a technical background, takes it a lot further: for the sake of efficiency, let the IT staff take over!
The number of internet users in China continues to expand, and they are becoming more demanding when it comes to quality and even aesthetic expectations. This trend is pushing Chinese online services to deliver the best possible product experience. In China, Netease Cloud Music
is considered the Facebook of the music sector, not only because of the social atmosphere that the platform has created, but also the expectation that users have for an outstanding product.