With pride of place at the top of the Asian music streaming market, KKBOX offers an enjoyable listening experience with a variety of unique features. Its memorable slogan – ‘listen and be heard’ and the bright KKBOX logo makes KKBOX an enticing platform for the onlooker from the offset.
Read on to explore how you can benefit from KKBOX as a listener and how you can get involved with the platform as an independent artist.
What exactly is KKBOX?
KKBOX is a music streaming service established in Taiwan in 2005 with over 10 million users. The platform is currently available in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Malaysia. According to their Facebook page, KKBOX boasts the “most comprehensive Asia-pop music library”, making it particularly appealing to those with a keen interest in the genre.
The service is available on both desktop and in the form of a KKBOX Android app or KKBOX app download for iOS, with playlists able to be auto-synced across a user’s devices. The apps and KKBOX online offer the same services. Although, if you intend on being a religious user of KKBOX an app download may prove to be more convenient.
Like many of its industry competitors, the platform offers a freemium service with several tiers in their KKBOX plan. The top tier is KKBOX’s paid membership plan. This gives users full access to all the features the platform has to offer. However, this may not be suitable for those looking to save some cash.
Perhaps this has raised the question of how to get KKBOX premium for free?
Well, the option that sits below the top tier is the KKBOX free trial plan. This plan gives the user 14 days to explore an unrestricted version of the platform. It then reverts to an un-paid membership at the end of the period.
Finally, at the bottom of the KKBOX pyramid lies the standard, un-paid membership. Being an unpaid service, you can expect limited versions of many of the platform’s features.
The platform contains many general features you would expect music streaming services to offer. One of note being the KKBOX chart which shows the most frequently played songs on the platform. There are daily, weekly and annual versions to ensure the user can always have their finger on the pulse of popular music. All users also have access to a wide variety of songs, the option to view lyrics and use the platform across several devices.
However, paying users can expect some more elevated features. Let’s take a look at the features available to KKBOX premium’s paying members.
Paid membership features…
Paying members can expect a superior experience when using KKBOX. They have unlimited access to more than 90 million tracks that the platform has to offer and can make their own playlists and tune in to other already curated playlists which can be selected by artist, genre or mood. Tracks can also be downloaded to the user’s devices for an offline streaming experience. This is great for those on the go or those wishing to limit their data usage.
For paying members, a social element can also be enjoyed with the service’s ‘Listen with’ option. By selecting this option, a user can become their own DJ, hosting their own set and able to share this with others whilst utilising the chat feature if they so wish.
Users can also tune in to others’ listen-withs and relax with their favourite artists or friends. This sociable experience can be likened to social media and is similar to the ‘ROOMS’ feature offered by alternate Asian music streaming service JOOX.
Like on social media, users can follow their favourite artists and each other to never miss an update from the people and artists who matter the most.
For the best listening experience, KKBOX recommends using a headset, especially when taking part in Listen Ins. For the paying user, the sound quality is already increased with KKBOX’s 24bit Hi-Res ‘lossless audio’.
There is also premium content available with members able to access exclusive videos, artist interviews and entertainment news making KKBOX a convenient one-stop shop for quality music-themed content.
What about the non-paying member?
For the non-paying member, it certainly isn’t all doom and gloom with many of the platform’s key features still accessible. The main limitations come down to the absence of the platform’s live and listen with features, which for the more sociable listener, may well be a dealbreaker.
Non-paying members will also experience the un-welcome addition of ads and a less desirable audio quality, with limited access to the platform’s tracks.
Finally, for those using KKBOX’s free service, Android Auto and Chromecast can’t be used to play KKBOX. This could deter some Android users who aren’t in a position to pay for the service. It could also be off-putting to those wishing to stream music across various devices.
Whilst for some, these limitations may be too much to contend with, perhaps for the less serious or frequent listener, they may not be such a hindrance.
What does KKBOX offer to independent artists?
Though KKBOX is firmly placed in the Asian music market, you shouldn’t be deterred if you’re in another geographic location.
Quite rightly, all of KKBOX’s music is licensed so you can ensure the artist is receiving payment for use of their tracks. So, how can you get in on this?
Well, you can submit your music to be played on KKBOX through a music distribution service. The ‘about’ section on their website has a ‘publish music’ option which is a direct link to a music distribution service – ‘Soundscape’. However, if you are looking for a music distribution service look no further and browse the services Мusic Gateway has to offer.
KKBOX vs JOOX
JOOX is another prominent figure in the Asian music streaming scene. On the whole, KKBOX and JOOX seem to be staying out of each other’s way in terms of competition. Each offer their services to different parts of Asia, perhaps working in the favour of each party.
Both platforms follow the freemium model as we’ve established is the case for many music streaming platforms. As you’d expect, the quality and variety of their services are elevated for users who have a paid subscription.
Each platform offers a large number of songs, though KKBOX contains more than double the tracks possessed by JOOX. This makes JOOX’s offerings seem somewhat feeble, in comparison. KKBOX also offers a higher maximum audio quality that JOOX, but this of course depends on your chosen plan.
Interestingly, there is less of a jump between what is accessible to JOOX’s non-paying members and those who pay. The key areas of increase are audio quality, removal of ads and offline downloading and streaming. This contrasts with KKBOX where non-paying members are unable to access any social chat features which feels like a more drastic limitation.
Both KKBOX and JOOX place a high level of importance on making their user’s experience as immersive as possible. Both offer the user an option to view song lyrics and sing along to their favourite songs. The key difference being that JOOX takes this one further, calling this section karaoke and establishing it as one of the platform’s key selling points.
To briefly summarise, JOOX seems to be more generous with the features they offer to their non-paying members so this might be the preferable option if a free service is essential to you.
KKBOX vs Spotify
KKBOX and Spotify are catering to two slightly different target markets, but each remains an important name in music streaming. Being available in a limited number of Asian countries, JOOX may not be suitable for streamers outside of certain geographic locations. In this respect, Spotify may automatically be the better option for you.
When we take a look at their features, there are a fair number of similarities. Both are freemium services offering the option to use a reduced version of their platform for free or pay a fee to increase accessible features. Both free versions contain ads that may be a deterrent to some.
So, what about those considering a paid subscription? KKBOX boasts more than 90 million tracks – significantly more than Spotify’s 82 million. This impressive feat may be appealing to some, especially those with a preference for Asia-pop. Both platforms allow the user to listen to pre-made playlists or to make their own. Users on either platform can also download music to their devices.
One standout feature KKBOX has is their ‘listen with’ option – where the user can host their own DJ set and others can tune in and chat. This is a feature Spotify is yet to implement. If socialising is something you want from your music streaming service, then KKBOX would be your best bet.
KKBOX also allows their paying user to access exclusive content including artist interviews, entertainment news and videos. Again, Spotify is yet to include this and perhaps wants to remain a platform whose primary focus is to exclusively stream music.
Another feature Spotify is yet to include is lossless audio. For those seeking the sleekest listening experience, perhaps KKBOX’s paid subscription would be most appealing.
Our final thoughts…
For those in Asia or with a keen interest in Asia-pop, KKBOX seems like an excellent choice for music streaming. Its vast music library and exclusive content make it a good choice for those looking to broaden their music taste and knowledge.
KKBOX is more than a music streaming platform, blurring the lines between music streaming and social media. For those looking for an interactive experience where they can chat whilst listening to their favourite tunes, KKBOX may be a good option.
We hope that this article has provided you with a good insight into what you could get from KKBOX and that it has got you a step closer to finding the most suitable music streaming service for you.
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