Where to listen to Beijing music online

Can't make it to the next gig? Hit up these streaming services instead

Re-TROS
Check out these websites for the best of Beijing's music scene, listenable from anywhere in the world. And no VPNs needed.

Douban

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Douban is still the best stop for getting a fly-by sense of any band, their sounds and upcoming shows. On the site itself, or the search engine of your choice, type in the band's name followed by xiaozhan (小站) to find their self-updated homepage, filled with all of the above delights – kind of like the good old days of MySpace. The web interface feels a bit long in the tooth, but it’s still a prime point of exposure for underground acts. Also has a mobile app.

Xiami

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Chinese bands may be veering more and more towards slicker international platforms like Bandcamp or Soundcloud and, true, Xiami can feel a bit Windows 98 at times, but the volume of tracks makes it a top starting point for familiarising yourself with a group or singer. Once you're on an artist's page, scroll down to '热门歌曲', the first stop, to find their top hits ready for your listening pleasure. Xiami is also available as a mobile app.

QQ Music

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QQ hosts more polished and poppier fare than the bootleg, DIY underground stuff, but many acts' works are still accessible, along with music videos. There's been a recent crackdown and some classics are now off-limits, but it's loaded with Western hits, making for a great – and completely fee – alternative to Spotify. Mobile app also available.

Far Out Distant Sounds

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Far Out Distant Sounds collates all the latest Chinese indie releases off Maybe Mars, Modern Sky, Genjing Records and more, with Bandcamp streams and excellently detailed write-ups for each, as well as options to buy vinyl, CD and even cassette copies. It also covers the latest news from across independent China.

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