Trending in China: It’s Curtains for Xiami as Music Streamers Show a Medley of Emotions Online
On the eve of the Spring Festival, Xiami, one of China’s first on-demand music streaming platforms, has been taken offline.
Some 120 million Weibo readers have viewed the hashtag #Xiami Music’s Last Daily Music Selection, and 28,000 have passed comment. Xiami, or “little shrimp,” was a streaming site set up by musicians for musicians, and its demise leaves music listeners in the hands of larger corporations with heavier copyright clout.
What’s the story?
Alibaba’s streaming media platform Xiami Music has permanently closed as of Friday. Musicians and indie lovers who followed guitarist and founder Wang Hao to the online space are particularly hurt by its closure.
Online, the site parts with one last list of recommendations including “So Long,” “Thank You,” “Best Friend,” “I’ll Always Be Here” and “I’m Sorry.”
Offline, bands have held memorial services. In Guangzhou, the label Doshit held a concert for Xiami fans lit by its logo, for which any user with more than 5,000 views on the platform would receive a free ticket.
Established in 2008, and acquired by Alibaba in 2013, Xiami announced in January that it will stop streaming on Friday. In October, Xiami had a tenth of the monthly active users of frontrunner QQ Music, with 22.4 million, according to Qianzhan, a research consultancy.
Although Alibaba cited a change in business direction for its decision, many suggest the closure of Xiami was influenced by Jack Ma’s private equity fund Yunfeng’s investment in rival NetEase Cloud Music in 2019.
Besides this, competition for streaming rights, key to any online music site, simply grew too fierce for Xiami.
What are people saying online?
Accruing 22 million users a month is no mean feat, and the Chinese internet is pumped with emotions for Xiami.
One musician asks a question many in the industry will be thinking, “with copyright disputes between Tencent and NetEase, can any music platform lead players back to the golden age?”
As an early streaming site, nostalgia is top of the list of comments, with people calling Xiami the “site of happiness,” “the moonlight of their hearts,” quite simply their “youth,” matching the editor of the last day’s playlist for sentimentality.
Many other top comments are from those who have lost their music collections. As Xiami fell, their downloads disappeared. People were wondering what would become of the albums they had purchased, and one said “What? It’s really closed. There are many Taiwanese singers whose songs can only be heard on Xiami Music…”
Others wryly commented that Alibaba, currently in the doghouse for regulatory reasons and workforce practices, had rid the people of yet another good thing in life.
Related: Music Stops for Alibaba’s Xiami Streaming Service