Music-oriented Short Video-Sharing App Dongci (动次) raised tens of millions of yuan in a pre-A round led by China Creation Ventures (创世伙伴资本), with contribution from Lotus Venture Capital, which was also the investor behind Dongci’s multi-million angel round.
The Bytedance-owned Douyin (also known as Tik Tok) has demonstrated how popular a short video-streaming app can be in China: During the 2018 Spring Festival, Douyin’s daily active users had shot up by 30 million to reach 62 million. The app has surpassed WeChat, the “super app” owned by Tencent, to become the most downloaded free iOS app in China.
As far as YANG Baocheng, Dongci’s founder, is concerned, bringing together content creators and letting them influence their viewers has been the path to take for a short video platform, and people with musical talent or those with good ears for music are those brought together by Dongci. With the idea “making music together” at the heart of its operation, Dongci is able to differentiate itself from other short video products on the market that use music only as the background or as a means of luring users.
Explore new ways of making music
Dongci is a short video-sharing app that allows users to make multi-screen/track videos.
Users can upload up to six video clips at a time and publish them as one merged video. They can fuse videos of themselves, say, singing, drumming and playing the guitar and stream them simultaneously on one screen.
Dongci also allows people to choose a published multi-screen video and replace any of its video clips with their own so that they can ‘collaborate’ with other artists to produce an original soundtrack cover. Features like this can help increase user engagement.
To give users more freedom, Dongci doesn’t offer preset music templates.
According to YANG, Dongci chose to focus on music because music can give people an outlet to create and express themselves. Music can be of great commercial value as well.
The majority of Dongci’s users are the generation of the post-90s.
Many of Dongci’s seed users are musicians, including big-name instrumentalists, composers, and lyricists. They are willing to publish on Dongci because, unlike other short video platforms, where one can find all sorts of content, Dongci is focused on music. This gives musicians a desire to interact with their audience.
At present, Dongci is prioritizing selecting content of and to recommend, videos produced by influential musicians or performers. Having already built a fan base, these seed users can help bring in more people who are interested in music or entertainment-oriented content in general.
The idea is to start by catering to the needs of a small group of high in demand users/content creators and let them influence ordinary users.
In essence, all of Dongci’s seed users can be viewed as “nodes” that serve to connect and bring in more users.
Operation and monetization
In the future, Dongci plans to introduce more features, including templates, filters, and voice enhancement functions, to keep users hooked, said YANG. He noted that a growing number of young people today are musically educated and interested in “making music.” Many have made videos by combining music with dancing, graffiti drawing, and other fun activities and published them on Dongci.
Dongci has been approached by advertisers and talent agencies looking for new faces. As to monetization, YANG believes that there are lots of possibilities for Dongci to explore, which we can expect to see unfold in the near future.
Currently, Dongci has a team of over 20 people whose backgrounds are mainly in product operation and technology. Its business partners boast rich experience in the industry and control large amounts of resources.
Founder and CEO, YANG Baocheng was formerly the director of the Comprehensive Channel Center at Alibaba‘s Digital Media & Entertainment Group and vice president of Xiami Music and TTpod. Before joining Alibaba, he had served as the vice president of KuGou. Partner and product/design director CHEN Jian oversaw the design of Alibaba’s AutoNavi and DuoMi and had worked as a product designer at Tencent‘s Customer Research & User Experience Design Center (CDC) for five years. Partner and technical director ZHAO Ling had previously served as technical director for Xiaomi, Douban Music and DuoMi successively.