QQ Music, owned by Tencent’s music arm Tencent Music Entertainment (TME), is poised to launch a music-focused livestreaming app, local media outlet TechPlanet reported Tuesday. While the Chinese entertainment giant first started developing the platform last year in a bid to gain a larger share of the livestreaming market, the move comes as musicians have canceled or taken their gigs online due to the coronavirus outbreak, giving the app an early push of momentum.
The new livestreaming app, dubbed Fanlive, is reportedly a spin-off and upgrade of QQ Music’s in-platform radio section, called Yiqiting. The audio-only function on QQ Music hosts music, talk shows, “lip syncing”, and more, and listeners can show appreciation to livestreamers by sending virtual gifts in the form of QQ Music’s Yuebi coins, which are equal to RMB 0.01 each. Fanlive is expected to retain these features.
According to TechPlanet, Fanlive has started recruiting livestreamers for its platform since February. The app, which is currently under testing, is slated to come out in April. It is unclear whether Fanlive will support video livestreaming as well.
While public events and venues remain closed, and millions of Chinese people continue to avoid large gatherings, many musicians and concert organizers have taken their performances online through livestreaming. For example, Bilibili, Douyin and Kuaishou held a so-called “cloud-clubbing” event, where viewers tuned in to join an online dance party, complete with DJs and all.
While Fanlive is a late entrant into the livestreaming sector—with Douyin, Kuaishou, and Tencent-invested Douyu among the many entrenched players—TME has several advantages in this vertical. Namely, it owns the four most popular online music apps in China (QQ Music, Kuwo Music, Kugou Music and Karaoke app WeSing) and has 644 million monthly active users (MAU) across these apps, which enable the NYSE-listed company to channel users across these platforms.
NetEase Cloud Music, the fifth-largest online music streaming service in China, with 138 million MAUs as of June 2019, also introduced a standalone music livestreaming app in October 2018, named Zhibo, while retaining a section with the same name inside its Cloud Music app. In January, the company announced it had more than 110,000 livestreamers on the platform.