Taylor Swift Is Big in China — ‘Midnights’ Sells 250,000+ Copies on QQ Music Despite Reportedly Being Tencent’s Highest-Priced Digital Album

Taylor Swift donates

Photo Credit: Eva Rinaldi / CC by 3.0

The popularity of Taylor Swift has reportedly extended to China’s quick-growing music market, where Midnights is said to have sold north of 250,000 copies on QQ Music despite being Tencent’s highest-priced digital album to date.

TechCrunch just recently shed light upon the international reach of Midnights, which broke multiple Spotify records soon after debuting last week. But within a day of its release, Swift’s 10th studio album had also moved nearly 196,000 copies on QQ Music, per TechCrunch.

Notwithstanding the 13-track effort’s availability on streaming services – Tencent Music likewise operates Kugou and Kuwo, and regional competitors include NetEase Cloud Music and ByteDance’s Qishui Yinyue – and a relatively large permanent-download price tag for Midnights, the album’s QQ profile displayed a sales total of 254,108 at the time of this writing.

China-based fans can buy the project for 35 yuan (currently $4.79), according once again to the QQ profile for Midnights. Needless to say, the album’s sizable purchase cost, not to mention the substantial number of buyers, could prove significant in the long term. Some global acts besides Taylor Swift command massive followings of their own in the nation of about 1.4 billion residents, and hundreds of millions of fans have reportedly tuned in for select livestreams.

But if the comments (16,070 and counting at present) of ticked-off QQ Music users are any indication, companies and acts will have to strike a balance between capitalizing upon China’s fast-expanding music industry and alienating supporters with higher-than-expected pricing.

“The price is just unreasonable,” one QQ user vented in the Midnights comments section, according to Google’s translation of the much-liked remarks. “This is not a question of affordability, 35 yuan is cheap, the price of two cups of milk tea, but it is just unreasonable. From a dozen to 30 [yuan], if there is no restriction to increase the price indiscriminately, one day it can rise to 135.”

“Resolutely do not listen to leaked songs, please report if you see it, thank you,” entreated a Swiftie, with a multitude of other commenters having touched upon some sort of Midnights leak amid QQ’s pricey download option.

According to its Q2 2022 earnings report – the third-quarter breakdown is slated to release on November 15th – Tencent Music generated about $122 million in net profit during April, May, and June, with revenue having remained near $1 billion even after slipping year over year.

Behind the figures, the Shenzhen-headquartered company identified 593 million online music mobile MAUs, with average monthly revenue per paid user of 8.5 yuan ($1.16). Over the summer, Sony Music announced the launch of RCA Records Greater China, and Universal Music China one month ago unveiled a Buick partnership, including a “brand-inspired song.”