Talyor Swift’s ‘Midnights’ digital album could set a new standard for the Chinese music industry. On Tencent Music Entertainment’s QQ Music, the largest music streaming platform in China, Midnights sold nearly 200,000 copies within a day of its release for 35 yuan ($4.82) each.
It marks a new record for Swift after her re-recorded Fearless album took the crown as the best-selling album on major Chinese music streaming platforms last year, outselling Chinese artists such as Jay Chou, Lay Zhang, and Li Yuchun.
View this post on Instagram
Fearless (Taylor’s Version), released in April 2021, sold 205,000 digital copies in China in less than five minutes upon its release, according to the Chinese government-run newspaper People’s Daily. This new record for Swift’s sales indicates how much more Chinese users are now willing to pay for online music.
In 2015, Beijing took action against online piracy by removing more than 2.2 million unlicensed songs from the internet, a move that has helped turn China’s music industry around. According to The South China Morning Post, only 1% of digital music is pirated now, after previously accounting for almost its entirety. Most Chinese consumers have turned to using legal streaming services for their music.
The popularity of music streaming also comes amid the emergence of various music streaming apps in China. TME operates three of the most popular streaming platforms in the country including QQ Music, KuGou Music and Kuwo Music. Altogether these apps added 2.5 million users in the second quarter, while rival NetEase Cloud Music added 872,000 paying subscribers.
To entice users to subscribe, many of the streaming services integrated other deals and services, like video streaming or online shopping to their platforms to lure in customers. Aside from Chinese consumers gradually changing their listening preferences, Swift’s high digital album price is also due to her expansive following in the country.
Swift is one of the only foreign celebrities to have acquired 10 million followers on Weibo, China’s Twitter counterpart, according to TechCrunch. The news outlet went on to say that only Mandarin pop music singer Jay Chou has had as much success in album sales at 30 yuan per copy.
As China continues to open up the music industry to foreign labels and other industry players, the increased consumption of music by foreign artists in China will only continue to grow.