A month ago, the user interface designer at the startup I’ve joined suggested that I give QQ Music a try. To be honest, I’m not a great fan of Tencent’s products, maybe because I live in Shanghai where people generally view Tencent as a lower-class brand, although that’s changing with Weixin.
Yet upon log-in to QQ Music, I was surprised by the Windows 8 Metro-style design, a slick interface that feels classy. Digging deeper, it turns out QQ Music’s mobile app is even more functional than stylish, one that I’ve continued to use since I first opened it up upon.
The Desktop Client
The only other music service that adopted the Metro-style design in China is Douban Musician, though QQ Music is far more robust in functionality. You can gain access to the latest music singles, albums, and music videos and create playlists share them with friends.
Also, since it’s a QQ service Tencent has tied it to QQ IM, so the desktop client for QQ Music can be quickly accessed from QQ IM. You can even share a specific song to your QQ friends. The perfect little office romance tool.
The Mobile Client
QQ Music is currently available for iOS (both iPhone and iPad), Android, and Symbian phones. Download is here.
The UI of the QQ Music mobile app is also well-designed with its features divided clearly between online and offline uses.
For your offline usage, you can choose in settings to turn on instant downloads, meaning every song you stream will be made ready offline for when you don’t have network access. And a maximum of 500 songs can be downloaded at anytime. It’s a nice little feature that allowed me to have access to a massive music database, pick the songs I like, and listen to them on the go.
Are we back to piracy again? After all, I can keep these songs forever without paying a cent, and with jailbroken or rooted systems I can copy and distribute these songs. It also features tons of artists and songs (e.g., The Beatles) for whom Tencent most certainly does not have legal rights. A questionable practice by Tencent.
Other features include live lyric-streaming, well suited for Chinese users who adore Karaoke. Songs can also be shared to Tencent Weibo and QZone once you’ve logged in with your QQ Account.
One little inconvenience in this app is its search engine only returns singles rather than albums, so if you search for an artist, the results are random songs of that artist, and in case of a song search it’s a full list of well… 99% exactly the same song.
It’s rather curious that this app passed Apple’s authentication while a similar music streaming service Xiami failed and they only allow 50 songs to be saved locally!
All in all, another solid offering in Tencent’s sprawling empire.
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