Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music are growing in paying users faster than Spotify

Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music are growing in paying users faster than Spotify

A bar graph that shows the YoY and QoQ growth of Tencent Music Spotify and NetEase Cloud Music

Image Credit: Music Business Worldwide

Leading Chinese music streaming services Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music both added more paying users in Q1 2022 than Spotify.

Many markets in Asia have seen booming music streaming figures, largely from ad-supported listeners, which generally pay artists far less than paid services. Q1 2022 saw both of the dominating music streaming services in China, Tencent Music with streaming apps QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, as well as rivals NetEase Cloud Music, significantly grow in paying online music users.

It should be noted, that China’s paying online music users are not the same as Spotify Premium subscriptions. Tencent Music for example define their paying users as those on music streaming subscriptions as well as those downloading paid-for releases. NetEase Cloud Music has two subscription tiers. 8 RMB per month gets subscribers limited offline downloads, while 18 RMB per month offers higher-quality music and unlimited offline downloads.

The latest financial results from Tencent Music revealed 4.0 million new paying music users since last quarter, increasing by 19.3 million users year-over-year, for a total of 80.2 million users. NetEase Cloud Music’s Q1 2022 results showed 7.8 million new paying music users quarter on quarter, increasing by 12.4 million since the same quarter last year, for a total of 36.7 million paying users.

Spotify on the other hand grew by 2 million paying customers (despite cutting off the billing for 1.5 million subscribers in Russia). While Spotify hold more total Premium subscribers than Tencent and NetEase combined, Spotify’s slower growth could see these figures change in the future.

Music Business Worldwide put together the graph above. NetEase’s absence in some areas is due to only being listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange in Q4 last year.


China’s far lower subscription costs resulted in a different story as far as revenue for the three platforms is concerned. MBW laid out the following stats:

  • According to Spotify’s Q1 2022 results, its Premium subs business generated €2.379 billion (USD $2.67bn) in the quarter, up 23% YoY;
  • Spotify’s the average paying Premium customer (ARPU) in this quarter shelled out €4.38 (USD $4.91) per month;
  • According to Tencent Music’s latest results, its ‘online music services’ revenue fell 4.8% YoY in Q1, to USD $413 million. Within that figure, some USD $314 million came direct from streaming subscriptions, up 17.8% YoY;
  • Tencent Music’s Average Revenue Per Paying Music User (ARPPMU) per month in the quarter was RMB 8.3 (approximately USD $1.31);
  • According to NetEase Cloud Music’s latest results, its ‘online music services’ generated RMB 884.8 million (USD $140m) in Q1, up 16.5% YoY. Within that figure, RMB 710.2 million (USD $112m) came from music streaming subscription specifically;
  • The average NetEase Cloud Music streaming subscriber paid RMB 6.4 (USD $1.01)monthly in Q1, says NetEase.

Find the full deep dive into Tencent Music and NetEase Cloud Music’s Q1 2022 results on Music Business Worldwide here.


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