Succeed as a musician in China: a step by step guide

Getting into the music world is not easy and breaking into it is a different story! Some musicians have had local success and others, more ambitious, have international goals. Succeeding in your own country is already a challenge, but succeeding abroad is something else. Tenacity, determination, motivation, talent … So many qualities are necessary to face the various barriers that open with the world: linguistic, cultural difference, preferences for certain styles, etc. What about when it comes to breaking into a country as large and unique as China?

The music world is …

  • Over 9% increase in total revenues in 2018: a booming industry
  • A growing community: 255 million paid accounts users in 2018
  • A sector that adapts to technology with 30% growth in streaming revenues

World’s recorded music turnover 2001-2018 (in billion US $)

The music/recording industry in China

  • From 12th to 7th in the ranking of the world recording market
  • A growing sector: + 35% growth in 2017, thus exceeding $ 290 million in revenue
  • 70% of revenue generated by streaming, representing $ 205 million in revenue

In many cases, a musician’s success can be achieved through a buzz or a good communication and distribution. But since this field is essentially based on subjectivity and personal tastes, the path to success in China will not require the same elements as those for the launch of a consumer product.

Getting into the deep end

If your goal is to get started in a country that is not yours, you will need:

  1. Be visible and convincing

As much on the networks as in the press, your visibility will be the key point for a good start in unknown territory.

First step:

Open your Weibo account, it’s Chinese Twitter with more than 500 million daily users. Weibo allows you to distribute your content and texts on a large scale. It not only gives you access to a large audience but also to the rapid development of your local fan base.

It is also possible to reach a wider audience using the KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) strategy, thus giving access to a fan base already well constructed and likely to appreciate your work. It goes without saying that the choice of KOL must be adequate and consistent with what you do.

Doing a collaboration with a KOL focusing on the music industry and sharing content of you working with him can make you gain followers and reputation. One or several KOLs collaborations can be a good start for you to take off in social networks!

Second step :

Open your WeChat account

Bigger than Weibo with its billion active daily users, WeChat is the Chinese Facebook and is a perfect platform to distribute your marketing content to a large number. This social network allows you to chat, share text, images, music and much more.

Beyond its multitude of options that can be used to promote yourself, information or content can be broadcasted there at high speed.

You can also initiate conversations on WeChat groups by sharing content or make people discover who you are by creating a WeChat brochure including your pictures and interview.

Third step:

Appear in the press (Public Relations)

This step can be complex if you have no contact with the Chinese press (or if you are not yet working with the GMA). However, it will make a difference to your potential fans and mark your success in China.

In addition, because the Chinese culture is different from the Western culture, not appearing in the media can make you terribly lose credibility and make you pass for an amateur in the eyes of the Chinese public. As you can see, the goal here is to establish a good foundation to anchor your name in the minds of the Chinese and make you the new superstar.

  1. Make your voice/art and personality heard

The big difference between music and any other field is that the success of a composition calls for subjectivity.

Being visible is one thing, but as a musician, why would an audience be interested in you? You already know the answer: to be a musician is to be your own showcase through your work and your personality. Your audience will be interested in you for what you do. This is why spreading your art is essential to have the best chance of being appreciated and known.

To do this, you will need to:

-Spread artistic content

Open a Douyin account! It is THE 2019 app for distributing video content to a general public. In addition to being very trendy in China, Douyin is appreciated by young people. It will therefore allow you to reach a maximum of potential fans and build a fan base by making your voice heard.

You can also make a collaboration with a KOL in Douyin, or even make a livestream collaboration! It could be a good way to be discovered by an already established fan base that will certainly be interested in your art. It will also make you gain a lot of followers and you will be able to start building your own fan base!

Livestream is currently a trendy feature in China and will provide you an important audience.

-Be present on local streaming platforms

Many Western streaming platforms as Spotify, Deezer or Soundcloud are not available in China (or only partially). In the digital age, being present in streaming allows you to make yourself known by audiences who would not have been reached by other means.

This is why being present on major local streaming platforms like QQ Music or Douyin will help you reach a wider audience.

-Let know who you are

Your personality can tip the scales in your favor if it is appreciated by your audience. Introducing yourself as an artist is one thing, but let’s not forget that the human side occupies an important place that can affect a career.

Transmitting your values, ideals, feelings and moods will attract the sympathy of the public and earn points (but be careful with your ideals … We may be humanistic, we talk about it no less business. Respect for local culture and standards is essential if you don’t want to end up on a “Wanted” sign or persona non grata).

Of course, maintaining consistency between your words, what you broadcast and your art is essential for a perfect definition of your identity.

  1. Your income

It’s no secret that today, physical and download revenues are falling compared to those of streaming and subscription streaming that are constantly growing. But the main income of an artist in China comes from concerts and sponsors. And it’s the same for all artists: revenues are in a big transition period with the digitalization and streamings.

To be an artist in China is to be known for the opportunity to be contacted by agents, to have sponsors and that is also what will make your reputation there!

This is why we will be happy to help you in this new adventure!

We are the GMA,

  • Expert in Artist Development in China
  • In-depth knowledge of Chinese culture
  • Over 800 satisfied customers
  • Expert but no less human! We offer you 30 minutes of free consultation.

Do not hesitate to contact us, we will be glad to be able to discuss with you about your artistic project.


  • Hi, my name is Drip Chiller I want to get my music played in China asap how can you help me archive this?

  • can I become a chinese singer if I do as you say is it true

  • Musicians used to get money from their individual (and mainly physical) sales before. But it has totally changed in only a few years: they now have to get sponsors and count on streaming platforms to get a correct income. The musicians’ game has changed and so it is for the Chinese game. I am ready to bet that you can become a well-known musician only by using digital platforms in China!

Leave your comment