It sounds not surprisingly that Tiantiandongting (TTPOD, a music APP under Alibaba Group) will stop the service. However, the users’ response shows it has really caught their hearts. Tiantiandongting under Ali Music will welcome its “day of death” – October 1, the National Day.
It is reported that Tiantiandongting will stop its service on October 1. Recently when Tiantiandongting (Ali Planet) is started up, “Tiantiandongting will stop its service from October 1 and thanks for your company in the past wonderful years “will appear on the welcoming page.
According to reliable sources, October 1 is the date that Ali settled down earlier for closing Tiantiandongting’s old version. Having been transformed to Ali Planet for several months, in the future Tiantiandongting will not provide network ng service, but work as a stand-alone player. Some industry insiders said: “It will not be closed, but no longer updated.”
On Weibo (a microblog site under Sina), many netizens said Tiantiandongting used to be a must-have music APP in their mobile phones. Other also mentioned they chose to uninstall Tiantiandongting after its upgrading to Ali Planet. Regardless of the comments, as a digital music APP which some people’s lives are accompanied with, Tiantiandongting’s closing up still gets many users’ attention.
At present, Ali Music has not provided official public response, while objectively Tiantiandongting’s close-up is only a matter of time.
The destiny of Dual-platform is: one of them will die
Since last year, music streaming media has been closed up one after another, just like the “nebbish”.
Let’s talk from Tidal’s acquisition of over 90% shares of Aspiro in 2015. After buying Aspiro, Jay Z merged two of its music streaming platforms Wimp and Tidal together, leaving Tidal as the brand. Merging would not only reduce expenses, but also be more conducive to make all the resources concentrate on one brand to develop.
When it came to September 2015, Microsoft announced on the official website to shut down its music service Zune which was launched in 2006. Same with Tiantiandongting, Zune only exists as an MP3. Originally Zune was created to deal with Apple’s iPod player and iTunes platform. However, after failing to achieve the initial expectations, it was forced to integrate users to Groove, another music service of Microsoft. Groove’s predecessor is Xbox Music, which stands on game users to have higher level of activity. Comparably, the one with poorer performance would naturally be “the abandoned kid”.
Soon after Zune’s closing up, Google said to shut down its Songza as well. Google acquired Songza in July 2014, but three months later added Songza’s function into their Play Music, and eventually shut down Songza after YouTube launched its own music service. It’s not difficult to understand that Google’s target to acquire Songza is to upgrade the service quality, but not Songza itself.
In 2016, the Japanese social giant Line announced to stop operating MixRadio, which it acquired in 2014. The reason Line gave to the public is MixRadio’s overall poor performance. Yet in fact, Line launched its own media streaming service Line Music just after the acquisition of MixRadio.
Well, similar to the predecessors, Line also made the trilogy of acquisition-learning-closing up.
To sum up, it is useless for a company to operate two platforms at the same time. Later when the company makes sure about its long-term goals, one of the platforms will always be abandoned or modified.
Why should be Tiantiandongting?
We can easily see from the above that large companies all have their own motives behind the acquisition, whether to enlarge industrial layouts, to obtain new technologies, or to get the team.
Ali acquired Xiami in January 2013, and Tiantiandongting in Decemeber 2013, through which Jack Ma expanded the layouts in the music area. Although the two players were received by Ali, the two brands remained independently operating. In July 2015, Ke Song and Xiaosong Gao announced to join Ali Music, which was then called by PRs as the two guys’ “last station of career”. The arrivals of Mr. Song and Mr. Gao also brought a huge change to the two players.
Even during the fiercest copyright battles, Ali Music obtained a lot of exclusive copyright resources. Although the size of their music library is far less than QQ Music’s 15 million pieces of music, Ali got great competitive power in the music market, with the music resources from Rolling Stones, HIM International Musics, Media Asia and so on. In fact, Alibaba and Tencent tried to talk about cooperation when the “battle” reached some levels, but failed because of the “price”. After that Alibaba took several large steps like weakening the music players, getting out of the copyright battles and launching Ali Plane ostentatiously.
Who killed Tiantiandongting?
After all, the weakened players will not get out of the market overnight. One of them will stay alive, and the question is which one can be the luckiest.
Tiantiandongting and Xiami Music have totally different characteristics. When Alibaba decided to do a platform for operating fans and promoting tradings, Xiami Music, which made great achievements in operating original music and indie musicians, is clearly not suitable for “upgrading”.
After Tiantiandongting announced to close up, I saw an article online. The title asked: Who killed Tiantiandongting in the end? Even though the text didn’t provide the answer, it is really a worth-thinking question.
In 2007, Zhigang Wang, Xiaojie Huang, imitated Qianqianjingting, the then hottest software on the PC market to create the mobile-end Tiantiandongting. Providing lyrics display, EQ equalizer settings, personalized skin and other functions, Tiantiandongting became a “must-have” software of a Symbian handphone. Together with mobile phone’s transformation from Symbian OS to Android and iOS system, Tiantiandongting also kept up with the market to become a leader in mobile phone player.
Afterwards was a naturally rapid development period. According to the network data, there were up to 10 million users in 2009. The number was 50 million in 2011, 100 million in 2012, and over 2 million in 2013. The straightly up-growing number expressed the user’s recognition.
However, along with the legalization of copyrights, the capital demand to make a music platform is keeping growing. In 2012, Tiantiandongting accepted initiatively Alibaba’s investments, and then Ali’s acquisition offer in 2013.
In 2007, Hao Wang, a former senior programmer and needs analyst in Alibaba, left to create Xiami. His idea “to let the music industry keep up with the times” made Xiami a music player to adhere cultivating users’ payment habits. This unique concept also reflected in the contents of the Xiami Music, which concerned about the indie music and original music. Thus Xiami got not bad words among music enthusiasts.
In 2013, Wang Hao was also trapped in the financial problems and had no other ways but to sell Xiami to his old boss Ali. Since then, given the shortage in the quantity of songs of its music library, the differentiation operating strategy has still helped Xiami Music accumulate 20 million users, with up to 7 million monthly active subscribers. According to the open data in December 2014, 0.8% of Xiami Music’s subcribers has paid for the service.
Unfortunately, although Xiami Music has made a lot of efforts, such as Light Seeking Program, which has introduced many high-quality original musicians. Bi Cheng, an indie musician of the new generation called Xiami as her maiden family. But in deed Xiami hasn’t received greater development. It can get less and less support within the group, becomes less and less significant.
Tiantiandongting became Ali planet, but Xiami Music is still that “small and beautiful” one with nonsufficient IPs. It will stay like that before Ali Music can make its development plan clear.
In the rapidly changing Internet age, who will still remember Tiantiandongting’s closing up after two weeks? How about Xiami? Will it fall down continuously or make a “big reversal”?
Tencent has acquired the Ocean Music Group and obtained the majority ownership of it with cash plus assets injection. QQ Music + Ocean Music (Kugo & Kuwo) will set up Tencent Music and IPO will be the only way in the future.
How about NetEase Cloud Music? Will its ongoing 1-billion-yuan financing still be able to work smoothly after it said goodbye to Lei Ding and began to operate independently. The institutional investors who once took part in NetEase Cloud Music’s roadshow said to Music Business News, “there are no investment opportunities in the digital music area and only NetEase Cloud can run out. What if Tencent decides to hit it?” However, we have confirmed from Tencent that it is willing to abide by the commercial rules as long as they can together promote the payment models of digital music and take the way of copyright’s legalization. Tencent of course would like to share the distribution of copyrights to other digital music platforms.
Baidu Music under Taihe Music recently poached Jin Liu, the former leading official of Douban Music and general manager of Dforce Records (Dafu Records). Lei Wang, the former senior director of NetEase Cloud Music joined into Taihe Music. The two have been on behalf of Baidu Music in some public occasions. It seems that Baidu Music will join to operate original music and indie musicians as well.
The past is history; today we’re still running; the future is on the way.
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