Chinese Regulators Crack Down on Music and Audio Apps — Including NetEase Cloud Music

The Chinese government is targeting music and audio apps like never before — starting with the ultra-popular NetEase.

China’s leading internet-regulation body, the Cyber Administration of China (CAC), is taking steps to reign in the content — and types of content — offered by the top music-centered applications and social-media platforms.

Specifically, the CAC has punished 26 app creators for featuring themes, ideas, and/or media deemed to be in violation of standards. At the time of writing, the terms of these punishments haven’t been released publicly.

However, a few applications, including the ultra-popular NetEase Cloud Music, can no longer be downloaded through China’s Android app stores; the programs are still listed, but they cannot be installed and their descriptions have been edited to warn of their unavailability.

The CAC’s specific complaints are wide ranging.

First, in a statement released by the governing body, the ability of users to broadcast sexually explicit footage (albeit on platforms where doing so is against the rules) was cited as a chief contributor to the crackdown. Additionally, the CAC stated that some of the apps in-question offered audiobooks that contradicted the doctrines of the Chinese government, including audiobooks relating to fantasy and superstition, amongst other topics.

Lastly, the CAC noted that some of the apps’ songs included lyrics that were suggestive and otherwise inappropriate.

The affected companies and app makers are currently working with the CAC to re-list the programs on app stores. Experts have indicated that the “crackdown” is likely to pass once minor concessions are made by the apps’ creators. Many of these same experts believe that the move is part of a larger effort to remind Chinese companies — and companies that are operating in China — of the government’s authority.

For instance, a dating app, TanTan, was removed from Chinese app stores in May, allegedly because users were able to solicit sexual services. It was recently restored in, essentially, its original form.