Are you interested in distributing your music across the globe?
I’m sure you’ve heard of the exploding music markets in places like China and want to see how you can get in on the action.
Well, you’re in luck as a lot of music distributors are starting to offer the option of distributing your music to more markets.
We came across one in particular by the name of Musicinfo who are primarily focused on distributing your music to China.
We were curious to see what exactly they do that is different from other music distributors and how they can benefit artists like yourself.
To answer all of these questions and more, we did some research and are happy to bring you our Musicinfo review to help you decide if the platform makes sense for you.
Who Is Musicinfo For? Quick Summary
Musicinfo is a music distribution company that purely focuses on distributing and promoting your music to China and South Korea.
They give you access to an exploding market within the music industry, providing you with reach and opportunities in this region unmatched by any other distributor.
While most western platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Instagram, and Facebook are banned in China, there are equivalent platforms that fans in these countries turn to for their music needs.
Musicinfo helps you with being discovered and visible in China on both streaming and social platforms that are relevant to these growing music markets.
There are opportunities for artists to take advantage of in these markets and Musicinfo is more than ready to help you spread the word about your music in China.
- Distribution to over 56 Chinese & South Korean platforms (Most of any distributor for these regions)
- Opportunities for Sync at no additional cost after purchasing music distribution
- Promotional support across major streaming, video, and social media platforms
- No North American or European music distribution
- May require a second distribution company for visibility in other countries than China
- Promotional services geared towards platforms in China only
What Is Musicinfo?
At its core, Musicinfo is a digital music distribution company similar to the likes of TuneCore or Distrokid, however, their primary focus is distributing your music throughout the regions of China and South Korea.
Your typical music distributors of North America serve as the middlemen between independent artists and music platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, and more.
Musicinfo does the same thing, as they help make your music available to the public for consumption, however, the difference is in the platforms your music is made available on.
In areas like China, platforms like Spotify and Apple music are banned from being used by the general public and replaced by similar platforms.
In these parts of the world, people run to platforms like Melon, Bugs!, QQ Music, Netease Music, Kuwo Music, and many more to enjoy their favorite artist’s new music!
More and more North American music distributors are starting to focus on a select few of these platforms but Musicinfo by far has the widest distribution to China hands down.
Just how big is China’s music industry?
To put things into perspective China’s digital music industry has quietly become one of the largest in the world.
When we sat down for a chat with Musicinfo to discuss the biggest myths about music in China, the first thing they mentioned was the western ideology that immediately associates piracy with music in China.
While China was hindered for years by online piracy, the region has since morphed into one of the world’s largest music markets alongside South Korea.
As Cyril Ip puts it, “A decade ago, 99 percent of China’s digital music was pirated, but now most Chinese consumers listen to licensed music – meaning they stream legally.”
The number of people listening to music online in China has grown exponentially in the last decade and this growth doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
One of the driving factors for this growth is that Chinese music streaming platforms are free, unlike Spotify and Apple Music.
Now as an artist it is always a good idea to build your fanbase locally. That said, you don’t need to be a global megastar like Drake to end up with a strong following internationally.
However, if your music isn’t accessible in these international markets then this makes things difficult.
What international music labels are tapping the market?
Labels are waking up to the growth of the music industry in markets like China as well.
Cyril Ip adds that “Warner Music was one of the first to tap into China’s music market in the digital age. In 2014, they acquired one of the country’s largest independent music companies, the Gold Typhoon Group.”
Other international music labels like Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music have also followed suit, signing both master distribution and licensing agreements with Tencent Music Entertainment Group, as they see the value in obtaining exposure for their artists in these markets.
That said, Musicinfo doesn’t just help you with distribution as they also help artists with promotion, sync licensing, playlisting, and more as you’ll see below – but first let’s break down exactly where Musicinfo will distribute your music.
Outlets & Release Options
The main question people have when they come across Musicinfo is if they want to promote their music on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, etc. Is this possible?
As mentioned above, the typical platforms that you are familiar with are either banned, non-existent, or not as popular in China.
However, Musicinfo allows you to distribute your music to over 56 music, media, and internet streaming services within China and South Korea.
Now when we consider your current situation as an artist, chances are you will fall into one of the following categories:
- You have no music distribution partner at all,
- You already have a music distributor but they don’t distribute to China, or
- You have a distributor and they already distribute to China
Scenario 1: You have no music distribution partner at all
If you fall into the first scenario then you will need to consider your goals and where you want your music to be visible.
If growing in China is your priority, then going with Musicinfo is a solid choice, but keep in mind that your music won’t be available on popular North American platforms like Spotify and Apple Music unless you also find another distributor that focuses on these platforms.
Scenario 2: You already have a music distributor but they don’t distribute to China
If you already have distribution in North America but they don’t distribute to any Chinese platforms, then Musicinfo is a great choice to help expand upon your distribution to these markets.
In this scenario, Musicinfo would be a great supplement to your current distributor and there wouldn’t be any overlap issues among the different platforms.
Scenario 3: You have a distributor and they already distribute to China
Lastly, if your current distributor already distributes to China, there is a strong chance that they are only distributing to a small set of platforms, usually 2 – 6 at best, with the exception of RouteNote which has a few more options available for distribution in China.
You can still take advantage of Musicinfo in this scenario but will need to keep in mind that if your music is already on Chinese platforms (with the exception of TME – QQ, Kuwo & Kugou- and netease), Musicinfo cannot distribute that song to the same platform again.
You would have to opt out of China as a region of distribution with your current distributor first.
If you are trying to distribute a new song that is not on any other Chinese platform then there isn’t an issue.
Musicinfo can distribute to the other 50+ services even if your music is only on TME and netease, of which most distributors nowadays distribute to, who offer China.
If you are unsure if your music is being distributed to China, you can contact your current distributor and ask about music distribution to Chinese Streaming Services.
You can also use Musicinfo’s handy China Search App Tool to search for your music on Chinese Streaming Services.
Aside from distribution to these major Chinese music providers, Musicinfo will also send your music to be published on 50+ Chinese music promotion companies and radio stations.
There is no guarantee of your music being utilized as It is at the sole discretion of these providers however the chances are good solely because of the demand and interest for Western music.
Social Media Distribution
Many music distribution services have recently added the option of distributing your music directly to social media platforms. As a lot of these social platforms continue to grow in popularity, they are more and more focused on the incorporation of music to elevate the user experience.
Musicinfo can’t exactly help you with distributing your music to the typical Western platforms we’ve grown accustomed to as again most of these platforms are blocked or unavailable in China.
With that said, Musicinfo does have partnerships with some of the larger social platforms in China and can help you with the promotion of your music on these specific platforms. More on this later.
Speed to stores
The process of getting your music uploaded to the major Chinese streaming platforms will take anywhere from 5-6 weeks for your music to go live and about 1-4 weeks for any South Korean platforms.
Keep in mind that these are suggested times under best-case scenarios. Don’t rely on the posted timeframes because each case is unique.
As always, be mindful of this when planning your releases, and try to make your submissions well in advance of your target release date.
How will my music be found by Chinese audiences?
No matter where you are, attracting and nurturing a fan base is no easy task. That being said, your marketing efforts should always be focused on attracting a specified target. That said, how you market to and attract western audiences will be much different than the market in China.
One of the biggest reasons for this is the fact that most western platforms are either banned, non-existent, or not as popular in China. However, they do have other equivalent platforms that are high in popularity and play a major role in music discovery.
Another key factor to note is that streaming services in China are much more social oriented than their western counterparts. For example, platforms like Spotify & Apple Music don’t allow for direct communication between artists and fans.
If a fan discovers your music on these platforms and wants to tell you about it, they have to take the extra step to find you on other platforms like Instagram for example.
Where China is concerned, they have platforms like QianQian Music, QQ Music, Kuwo Music, Kugou Music, and Netease that allow fans to not only stream your music but also interact with you on their platforms.
Your music may also be promoted through social media, either by opening your own Weibo and Wechat account or posting through Musicinfo's official accounts which will be discussed in a moment.
Fees & Commissions
When it comes to the fees and commissions structure at Musicinfo, you can find comfort in the fact that you get to keep 100% of your earnings and revenue from the distribution of your music.
When it comes to getting your music distributed however, this will come with an upfront fee. At present, there are four different distribution options which are listed as Star, Bronze, Gold, and Platinum.
You can click here to check out their current pricing and promotions but make sure you go through our link here as Music With Flavor readers get special pricing when they distribute their music through Musicinfo.
At the time of this article Musicinfo currently relies on a third-party service known as “Bambora PayForm” and “PayPal” to accept payments for their services.
Regardless of the option you choose, Musicinfo does charge an annual fee for distribution. That said, they currently offer you a first-year subscription of 18 months before your next payment which is typically reduced and treated as a maintenance fee.
We should also note that if you are unable to pay the annual fee in the future and do not respond to their renewal notices, your account will automatically be renewed and converted to a commission based account.
For the duration of this commission based term, there will be a 20% commission admin fee applied to your account however there is a way to reinstate your account back to normal. For more details on this, you can read their terms and conditions under the failure to pay section here.
Payment & Reporting
When it comes to getting paid with Musicinfo, you will need to have access to a PayPal account and ensure that the minimum threshold of 25€ has been met.
From your PayPal account, they require you to create an invoice for the withdrawal amount and email your request for payment and invoice to Musicinfo so that they can issue your payout.
As it stands right now, there is no maximum withdrawal amount and all payouts are issued to you in Euros.
As with most streaming platforms, the pay for stream and royalty rates in China vary greatly from one platform to the next and will also depend on the type of listener enjoying your music (whether paid subscribers or free listeners).
Again, Musicinfo pays you 100% of all accumulated royalties received from third parties and DSPs.
Your statistics are available approximately 6-9 months from the time your music is live and you’re able to view your statistics from your Musicinfo dashboard.
Due to the delays which are typical of the music industry in general, there is no real-time reporting available through Musicinfo.
Below is an example of a timeline if your music was uploaded and streamed at the beginning of the first quarter.
Musicinfo Features & Benefits
While distributing your music to China is the primary service provided by Musicinfo, they also provide other services related to sync, promotions, playlisting, and more. Below is a brief breakdown of everything else the platform has to offer.
If you sign up for music distribution with Musicinfo you have the added benefit of opting in for their sync licensing services at no extra cost.
This service is only available to artists who are distributing their music through the platform and you have the option of selecting the specific songs you want available for sync opportunities.
By opting in, you are granting Musicinfo the non-exclusive right to sub-license your music for sync license usage for visual media works, including but not limited to movies, TV series, advertisements, and video games.
These opportunities are primarily focused on the market in China but do extend elsewhere as well.
As with most sync services, it’s important to keep in mind that this does not guarantee that your music will be placed or used by third parties.
If an artist is hoping to secure a sync placement, then they should be providing Musicinfo with the necessary tools to maximize the potential of securing a placement.
For example, ensuring the music is of high quality, ensuring high-resolution files are used, and knowing what the rights picture looks like. If your music happens to be sub-licensed you will earn 80% of the gross revenue and Musicinfo will take a commission of 20%.
Apart from music distribution and sync, Musicinfo also focuses heavily on helping you promote your music in China. This is important because it doesn’t matter where your music is distributed, without a solid effort and plan to market and promote your music, it won’t be heard.
Musicinfo’s promotional services help you to push your music, videos, and related links through social media posts on Chinese social platforms. They help translate your text to Chinese, customize content and localize engagement.
Currently, they provide 3 different promotion options which include Video Sharing, Social Media Promotion, and Playlist Placement.
This service allows you to share your music videos to platforms like QQ Video, Youku, Toutiao, Kuaishou, Douyin, and BiliBili. Again it is important to note that video platforms like YouTube & Vimeo are either banned or non-existent in China.
This service is only for the platform known as Netease Cloud Music which is one of the most popular streaming services for Western music in China. This option provides placement for at least one month and is an opportunity to get your music on active and popular playlists in China.
Social Media Promotion
Social media promotion through Musicinfo comes with two different options for you to choose from which are a basic Social Media Promotion plan and Social Media Promotion Pro.
Their first option for Social Media Promotion Is focused only on the platform Weibo, which is a microblogging site. Each purchase of this service is for a single post only which can be accompanied by a description of up to 100 words (translated to Chinese), 2-3 pictures, and a link to your music or music video.
Social Media Promotion Pro allows you to post on 5 social media platforms (Wechat, Tencent News, QQ Kandian, and Kuai Bao). This is more in the form of a press release of up to 500 words (translated to Chinese), that can also include images and your specified music links.
In order for this to work properly, you will need to first have your music or a music video distributed to Chinese platforms.
If you want something a bit more intensive, the company also has monthly promotion plans or ways for you to bundle their services to fit your needs more specifically.
Musicinfo vs RouteNote
RouteNote is another music distributor that sees the importance of distribution to China.
While Musicinfo distributes to the widest number of platforms in China, RouteNote is a distributor worth noting if you have your eyes set on this market specifically.
This is because they also cover a good number of distribution outlets in China and can also distribute your music to other parts of the world including North America.
Musicinfo vs TuneCore
TuneCore has been around for a while and provides a solid service for music distribution to the western part of the world.
While they do distribute to China as well, the number of platforms that they reach in China is very limited.
Musicinfo Review – The Bottom Line
The bottom line is Musicinfo is great for anyone who is interested in expanding the reach of their music to markets in China and South Korea.
There are situations where artists are able to gain stronger traction in these markets than they would elsewhere.
Given the fact that Musicinfo distributes to more Chinese platforms than any other distributor out there, then choosing them in this situation makes perfect sense.
It is important to keep in mind what your focus is and where you want your music to be found.
If platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Facebook, YouTube, and the like are also important to you, then you will need to find another distributor to supplement Musicinfo.
This may seem like more work but we can’t understate the growth of the music industry over in China as well as their interest in western music.
There are opportunities for artists to take advantage of in these markets and Musicinfo is more than equipped to help you succeed in China.