In 2015, live has become a kind of lifestyle, with popular game live, sports live, entertainment live, even live videos of eating food are unexpectedly hot.
CMBN once organized an offline forum of online music live, and invited executives of LeTV Music, Modernsky Now, and YEMA Live and others in the industry to discuss this hot topic. It is agreed: First, music live will be an important part to stimulate music consumption on the scale required. Second, music live has become the most important content to attract new users, serve old users and generate traffic for large platforms. Third, there is much room for market scale.
Yin Liang, CEO of LeTV Music, said, “Music live streaming is the only highlight of Internet music over the ten years.”
Li Hongjie, founder of YEMA Live, believed, “Optimistically estimated, if payments are settled and experiences of all aspects are excellent, the market of music live streaming can reach to hundreds of billions RMB.”
Zhang Dongliang, CEO of Modernsky Now, revealed, “Only when you have good quality will there be people who pay for it. I think the paid mode is a future trend.”
In terms of live music scale, there are three major categories: First, Livehouse. Its live content, layer, scale and the traffic that it brings to the platforms are small. Second, festival live. Due the launch of Modernsky Now app by Modernsky this year, all lives under the company are broadcasting by Modernsky Now. And almost all the festivals in 2015 have live partners. Third, middle and large scale concert live. The concerts of popular singers are always the subject that being competed for. As for large performance activities that gathered stars, those who have resources win the live copyright.
According to the statistic from Daolue, in 2014, the box office of music live was 3.9bn RMB. But total the box office of Livehouse was less than 50m RMB and that of festivals below 400m RMB. Medium and large concerts took up 49% of the total amount of venue and 93% of the total live music box office.
Therefore, within all live, concert live is the most popular one. According to the report by SWS Research, in 2014, the revenue of Chinese concert market was 2.569bn RMB. Combining online and offline interaction, taking the number that was driven by present online concert, and assuming that the paid number would be 15-20 times in 2020, with 500 RMB for offline ticket and 30 RMB for online tickets, the increase of performance market will be 3.5 – 5.8bn RMB by 2020.
Major players: main character
Tencent Video Live Music project mainly has pop artists who have a large fan base, and the trend of diversification is also visible. This year, it lived the Simple Life Festivals exclusively, from free to the paid mode of the October Bigbang Macaw concert. According to the statistics, by December 10th, Tencent Video Music Live has streamed 47 concerts and 1 festival in 2015. International singers take up round 30%. Next year, Tencent Video will live more sessions and more contents.
For the reason that there are only a dozen of singers who have enough domestic fans to hold medium and large scale concert, such as Zhou Bichang, Li Yuchun, TFBoys and so on, their concerts are where the competition starts. Interestingly, while the slogan of Tencent is “The first online concert platform”, that of LeTV Music is “The largest live music platform”.
LeTV Music has acquired certain number of copyright contents, and it has its own brand “Live Life”. Additionally, now it has an intelligent upgrading stadium —- Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center. LeTV has announced that it will be an organizer to held concert next year. Its first pop star is Zhou Bichang. Yin Liang revealed that the total number of LeTV music live is 352, with more than 150m online audiences. It is estimated that based on the number this year, the figure will be doubled to more than 600 next year.
YEMA Live, which is invested by rock singer Wang Feng, is dominated by excellent music live. This year, the most impressive live is Inmusic Festival. But YEMA Live lacks “inborn content”, and it could not spend so much money on copyrights as Tencent and LeTV. However, their advantage is that it is independent and neural in the market. It majorly streams new, special indie music in Livehouse. Li Hongjie, founder of YEMA Live, told us that it had lived more than 100 shows and built a studio for their own entertainment contents.
Modernsky Now Live, supported by Modernsky and GoChina TV, has most Modernsky content resources — Strawberry Music Festival, and its well-known artists’ and bands’ shows. Certainly, their own content will be the focus of Modernsky Now in 2016. They will sign hot online famous people, and make their own entertainment program as well as FM. Zhang’s idea now is that everything can become live.
YoukuTudou held music event and avoided paying for the copyright of live. It has a brand called U-Music. This year, the highlight is that it sponsored Dream Sonic, and had the debut of Dou Jingtong. Therefore, it successfully made headlines. Li Yu, General Manager of YoukuTudou Music Center, said competition for live copyrights still remained in O2O 1.0 era. YoukuTudou wanted to create O2O 2.0 era with the help of the core advantage of user base Internet video platforms and change the online and offline audience into the same group of people.
As for iQIYI, it also has put many efforts on live, such as William Chan, Laopaoer concerts, the stars concert of the 15thanniversary of EEG and so on. Yinyuetai also lived Wei Chen’s tour this year. However, in terms of the amount, Yinyuetai did not participate in much concert lives. HNTV, though only with a small number, selected some contents such as the 2015 American MusicAwards.
Kugou Live sync lived the big Xiangjiang Music Festival which held 11 concerts within a month as well as two symphony performance and six-day long college students art festival. According to the data from Kugou, the number of online live viewers surpassed 10 million in five days.
This year, more and more Internet platforms entered music live business, such as game live platforms in the transition period.
Game live platform Longzhu has a live music performance from Tuesday to Sunday. Their artists include Huiyinge, Wanzi, Wang Siyuan and Cui Longyang. Users can interact with singers through live commenting during the video time. PanddaTV, supported by Wang Sicong, recently lived the concert of T-ARA (a Korean girls’ band). According to the report, there were more than 800 thousand fans watching this show online. AcFun and Bilibili, which are famous for second dimension and subculture, have expanded to all aspects of second-dimension entertainment from the early anime video platform. Plus, they contain music channel and concert live.
The live of social networking app Momo is in Discovery section. In July 2015, Momo appointed Liang Qiaobo, the Music Director ofI Am a Singer, which marked its determination to produce quality music live. NetEase Could Music, a digital music platform, also entered into live market, making live which makes music an important part of business. It mainly focuses on interaction, and streamed The Music War not long before.
YY Entertainment invested large amount into YYiFunMusic. Based on incomplete statistics, in more than ten concerts of YYiFunMusic, the interaction of Wang Zulan reached to 25 million times, Wu Kequn concert at 20 million times, and Yang Chenlin concert at 25 million times as will. Chen Zhihua, VP of YY Entertainment told CMBN, “Now the number of online concert live is increasing. We have more than ten shows this year. Our concerts are different with others. Our products are customized, and we do not sell tickets offline.”
Flow temptation is not enough
It seems that music live is very hot, in fact, its value is still far away from being assumed importance.
Now, there are three music live online business mode:
First: free+ ads sponsor. Tencent Video Live Music has been doing this.
Second: paid, 30RMB/show. Member special concerts are quite normal.
Third, different from LeTV and Tencent, YY and Fanxing use virtual gifts toearn concert live revenues online.
Besides, exclusive live and multiplatform co-exist. Generally,co-live exists among non-competitors. For example, when Migu Music streamedG.E.M.’s concert, it cooperated with various video live websites such as PPTV, LeTV, iFeng and so on.
Though it has a clear business mode, when all video websites, video platforms, game and social networking platforms making music live, they do not aim to earn money form the music shows. Instead, it serve the members, enrich entertainment content, serve users and some large platforms even do not care about the traffic.
Modernsky Now streamed many times of Strawberry Music Festival and folk, rock musicians’ performances. So far, it the accumulated hits is less than 30 million. However, recently, a video website launched an amazing network drama The Promotion of Crown Princess, which broke 200 million hits within 15 days. Judging from mass entertainment consumption, the entertainment consumption of music live contents is much less than TV drama, network drama and variety show.
The high cost of music live on the platforms can be controlled. The price of music live and the copyright price of a hot TV drama or movie are quite different. Recently, a popular but controversial TV drama called The Story of Mi Yue was said to have two million RMB for per episode. If we assume that the copyright price of festival live increases to six million RMB in 2015, will platforms reject it? Though this price largely underestimated the value of festival live, the problem is that platforms spend much money gambling on which might be the most popular drama and movie.
However, for platforms, if six million only earn back ten million or even millions of hits, how would they be willing to pay a higher price for copyright? The fundamental reason that hampers the increasing of copyright price is that music live do not bring enough traffic for platforms.
It is known that the live price of A-list singers this year is at millions of RMB. And the price of famous festival live is around three million RMB. Other less popular festivals can also have millions of live revenues. The result of the rising live copyright is that large platforms has derived to upstream production (content) and downstream integration (channel). For example, LeTV Music has Livehouse which cooperate with LeTV brand and Beijing Wukesong Culture & Sports Center. After integrating offline channels, it transfers to concert organizers in 2016, hoping to redefine interaction, live and performance.
However, we read the Weibo of LeTV founder Jia Yueting and his wife Gan Wei. Jia was posting The Story of Mi Yue all the time. Maybe he had pay too much for the copyright (two million RMB/episode, 81 episode in total). Besides, Jia also posted LeTV television, LeTV phone and LeTV sports, and even reposted and supported The Promotion of Crown Princess. In his wife’s Weibo, except posting her baby and girlfriends, she also post concerts. You might thought it was Li Yuchun’s concert if you not read it carefully. However, this is the concert of Chen Xiaochun, her girlfriend Ying Caier’s husband.
Kugou Fanxing has opened its Livehouse. On December 29th, Kugou announced the launch of tow online program Hello Star Anchor and Kugou Music Chart.
Though QQ Music does not operate Livehouse itself, it also considering to have Livehouse activities around the country next year. As for music visualization, QQ Music will try more interactions next year.
“At present, music live on video websites are mostly about concerts. But the biggest problem is that it is very hard to interact with the audience. We will try to innovate on the way of live.” General Manager of Tencent Digital Music and General Manager of QQ Music Liang Zhu told CMBN, “In the future, we would make two-way interaction, connecting on-stage and off-stage. The difference between our platform and others is O2O, combining show mode and adding interaction. We have good content, and a good team to live and can have better interaction with users.”
Modernsky Now is presently planning to produce three entertainment program and invite some famous people on the Internet for talk show. It will not be limited in indie music live. For external procurement, Zhang said Modernsky Now will cooperate with its partners such as YEMA Live, and LeTV Music. They decided to acquire some live copyright of good performance content overseas.
Serving users is the goal
Though the attraction of traffic is not that much high, why do social networking and game esports platforms such as YY, Momo, Longzhu, Douyu and Panda still invest so much on music live? The most practical goal is to enrich ecology and serve users.
Momo is a mobile social networking app. It is known that its most important function is find friends with benefits. Momo want to improve its image. In order to attract users and active users, Momo noticed the vaule of music performance live.
In the second half of this year, Momo built a venue in Beijing, and chose professional singers to perform. There was no audience at the scene. Singers interact with online viewers with fans’ bullet screen and virtual gifts and so on. This allows Momo to control the cost of live in a relatively low range. Since there was no audience at the scene, it does not involve ticket selling, approval, and
security which largely lower the risk and successfully control the performance.
Jiang Wei, Vice President of Momo, said, online music live was like the expansion and qualified show mode. The reason why Momo chose such interactive live methods was that YY had proved live show mode was profitable.
The stars of YY iFunMusic include Wang Zulan, Jin Zhongguo, Li Qi, Yang Chenlin. Chen Zhihua said, “We attach more importance to customized products. The whole live process is under our control, including artist coordination, environment and game section. We create a scenario for artists and fans to interact, hoping that artist can play with fans, and sing with fans. It’s not simple a concert.”
The mode of Longzhu Music is similar to Momo. Before long, Longzhu Live revealed that it led an investment with 230m RMB with other capital to enter the music market. Though without large music celebrity like Liang, it spent large amount of money to create a studio in Beijing. From sound to lighting, stage to shooting team, it try to have the best quality and professional music stage.
Douyu TV also put many efforts on live this year. Except for Xiangjiang Music Festival, Strom Festival, Play Rock Music Festival, Modernsky Music Festival (Los Angeles, Seattle), it also exclusively streamed Video Games Live concert.
Personally, we think that the background for game live platforms such as Longzhu, Douyu and Panda to do music is fierce competition among esports live. With the purpose of enriching entertainment contents and improving the activity of users, they live or exclusively live some concerts and festivals. However, they do not hope to earn from music live.
Now, all kinds of platforms design layout of entertainment content for users. The competition is fierce. It is estimated that there will be more music content wars next year in the market.
More interestingly, He Jong, a famous host, was appointed Chief Content Officer by Alibaba on December 29th. Its next year plan was revealed in Gao Xiaosong’s comment. One thing for sure is that Ali Music will focus on music visualization. Will the triangle play music entertainment live?
What’s next step?
With the normalization of live, actually, performance live has become the infrastructure of Internet platforms. Music entertainment contents have become a basic tool to attract users for all platforms. New players enter this area, which means that music live is no longer limited into simple acquiring performance copyright. These platforms has noticed the value of music live contents towards users. Next year, platforms will have more commercial trying towards fan economy and star-cultivation.
1. Industrial chains continues to penetrate
In order to reduce copyright cost, avoid homogenization, and attract like-minded fans, the year 2016 will be a competing year for large platforms to produce own content and for further differentiation.
No matter platforms like Momo and Longzhu who spend money to build studio and invite singers to perform, or LeTV Music who held special concert for Zhou Bichang in venue, or YY Entertainment who invested 500m RMB to cultivate a girl band and made regular theater live, or YoukuTudou who held a festival this year, platforms have already planned layout on their own upstream
entertainment content and producing.
1931, a female band under YY Entertainment, has already begun theatre ensemble performance. The exclusive 2500 square meter performance theatre is also built by YY. Under the cultivation of YY, 1931 can meet the quality standards of traditional artists, becoming idols through live, benefiting from fan economy and achieving integration of online and offline.
In this process, the original traditional concert organizers are expanding towards “content” and “channel”. Compass Culture, which held concerts of Wang Feng and Phoenix Legend, also felt the restriction of traditional performance. Upstream organizers compete hard for artist who can bring high number of box office and downstream platforms spend much trying to be the organizer. Compass Culture, who is at the middle, has to transform to upstream content end. Xue Liping, founder of Compass Culture, told CMBN before that it had invested a 2000 square meter factory in a culture industrial base, planning to make it a comprehensive base for artists and walking further on the way of fan economy.
Mondrensky was a traditional record company and festival organizer, but it saw the Internet value of its contents. This year, it launched Modernsky Now, extending towards the Internet. We also see another project of Ren Xiaofeng, Chairman of the China Musi Group — Dream Catcher has acquired angel investment from well-known investor Wang Qiang. This product revolves around the star, using interactive live video mode as the main form. It plans to broadcast over 36 star concerts next year.
Taihe Music Group, who just acquired Baidu Music, has artist, copyright, after the supplementary to the Internet channel, it is likely to produce some live content in 2016.
2. interaction is only a method, star-cultivating is the core
With the normalization of music live, interaction has become a main card for platforms. We think that in 2016, music live will have more interaction patterns, which results in enriched social interaction businessmodel.
“We think the mode of superstar era has gone. Everyone that has several thousand or a dozen of thousand fans can be a star” Xie Huan, Vice President of Kugou Music and head of Fanxing told CMBN. Live relies on fan economy. General online live cannot solve the living of most singers. While making online live, Fanxing pays most attention on how do new musicians gathering fans. Fanxing is born for making stars.
Xielinked Internet star-making to the machine, “You may not make a sweater out of 100 sheep. Never mind, you may be successful with 1000 sheep. Then you can have 10,000 sheep. “Xie Huan explained how Internet products and technologies will be easier for users on the front end and makes it easier for singers to be noticed by fans, how would fans singers and create a dynamic consumption.
YY Entertainment is just like a record company. In the view of Chen Zhihua, even perfect online cannot replace real concert. As it was impossible to replace, YY iFunMusic could not achieve that goal.
Singers purely made their reputation with music. Sometimes they rely on good luck, but as long as there are fans, artist market treatment will be different. In the future “online performance with fan interactive” will become more and more the normalized, regardless of singers at different levels.
Chen said, “We invest on whom has most fans on the platform. YY’s attitude solve the problem of our initial selection. Because there too many anchors, you can’t make it with thousands of people. You must have your character to come out.”
Momo Live has signed with professional singers such as Zhou Ziyan and Zhang Liange. Momo is also working on platform star-making mode. Jia Wei thought that the logic of Momo Live is: the relationship between the consumption of music. Of course, it also includes the group relationships among fans, and the relationship of “cultivating” and “cultivated” between fans and the singer.
3. VR popularization, will pure online become a trend?
From the standpoint of technology upgrading, the popularization of VR will completely subversive online viewing experience.
In a concert, due to virtual reality equipment, fans can experience can feel the details which are even not available at the spot. Theparticipation andmutual dynamic are bursting. This time, a pure online live is able to bring subversive entertainment feeling to fans. And it can help singers to attract more fans, and even to help them get income of offline performance in the next three years.
It is sure that Sure is, pure online performances (concerts/Livehouse level) the number will increase. It is not only the performing carrier for grass-roots artists, but would be the new carrier for ambitious mainstream singer to “cultivate fans” and “turn the performance into money”.
“Why does this industry exist? Frankly, it is for fame and fortune. What is fame? Fame is the number of fans. Now there are a variety of modes, if the income becomes higher, commercial performance mode is established. So, why not? “Chen Zhihua judged. Future Internet audio and video interaction and performance will be a normal way for all artists to attract their fans and create their own business model.
In terms of business models, pure online performance works, because singers are able to boundlessly develop new fans via the Internet platform. The Internet platform pay for the commercial performance of artists, or negotiate the division. Both fame and fortune can be achieved. However, at present, show models have not yet been completely “cleaned”. First-class singers did not value this. However, if the problem of paid online live can be solved, and VR device solves the problem of fan experience, from third or fourth class singers to second or third class singers, and then to the first class singers, the acceptance and participation rate will be higher.
In the future, if TFBOYS, and Luhan, and Wu Yifan walk out from Internet live, one day famous first class idol will not need to rely on TV exposure. Mainstream singers such as Han Hong, Wang Feng, Na Ying and Jay Chou no longer need to participate in reality show PK program or to be the mentors, they can have a stream of “traffic entrance” and continued “interests distribution mouth”, on the Internet. They are able to sing whatever they want, and play whatever they like. They do not lose their values but get close to ordinary fans.
At that time, music live will focus on “artist IP” and truly release the enormous commercial value.
Copyright © 2015 China Music Business News