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3 Apps for Enjoying and Learning from Chinese Music

Music is in the air.

And it’s here to teach you Chinese!

We may not generally think of listening to music as a tangible and effective way to learn a new language.

But while supplementing music-listening with a course or lesson plan is definitely preferable, you’d be surprised at how much music on its own can help you improve your listening and comprehension skills.

Learning a new language doesn’t have to involve strict lessons and laborious studying all the time. It can be fun. And when something’s fun, it’s easier to do.

Not only that, but the presence of apps makes listening to music in a variety of languages easier than ever.

Our list of awesome Chinese music apps will get you on the right track to learning Mandarin through tunes!
 


 

How Can Chinese Music Apps Help Me Learn Mandarin?

  • Listening to music is one of the best ways to improve your listening, comprehension and memorization skills. Many bilingual people out there will tell you that listening to music in a particular language helped them learn. It might seem like a subconscious thing, but actively trying to translate lyrics and singing along helps bridge gaps between unfamiliar words and their translations.
  • You can listen to them during downtime to improve your fluency while not doing much else. Actively studying 24/7 is impossible, but throwing some passive practice into your leisure time is a great way to add variety to your language learning routine without having to do much work.
  • Some of these apps feature music videos with subtitles, which can help you improve your reading skills in Chinese. Listening to music doesn’t have to just improve your listening and speaking skills—it can improve your reading and comprehension skills as well!

3 Chinese Music Apps for Singing Your Way to Fluency!

Youku (iPhone and Android)

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Youku is China’s biggest video streaming provider. Think of it as YouTube and a public broadcast channel mixed together.

While there are certainly a ton of television shows and films you can watch on Youku, they have a ton of music videos available as well. If you’re looking for an app that provides more than just music, Youku is the one. All you need to do to browse music videos is select the 音乐 (yīnyuè) — “music” button.

You’ll find that a vast majority of Youku’s videos don’t have subtitles in English, so this app would be better suited to intermediate and advanced learners. As of now, the Youku app is free to download.

We suggest checking out:

  • 于文文《其实其实》(yú wén wén “qí shí qí shí”) — Yu Wen Wen’s “In Fact, Actually”
  • Tizzy T’s “Runnin'”

YouTube Music (iPhone and Android)

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YouTube Music has to be the best resource for finding Chinese music videos, ever. Some Chinese music videos come complete with Chinese and English subtitles and HD audio and video. You can save different videos to your favorites with ease, too.

Just about any learner can use this super simple music video app. YouTube Music is free to use with ads but they also offer a premium subscription.

To find Chinese music, try searching for these keywords in either English or Chinese:

  • 中国 (zhōng guó) — China
  • 中国音乐 (zhōng guó yīn yuè) — Chinese music
  • 中国流行音乐 (zhōng guó liú xíng yīn yuè) — Chinese pop music
  • 中国嘻哈 (zhōn gguó xī hā) — Chinese hip-hop
  • 国语音乐 (guó yǔ yīn yuè) — Mandarin music
  • 普通话曲调 (pǔ tōng huà qǔ diào) — Mandarin tunes

We suggest checking out:

  • Best Voices of Mainland China: This playlist features some of the most incredible Chinese singers in multiple genres.
  • Chinese City Pop/Boogie/Funk/Soul: If you love city music and want to find out what’s popular in Beijing right now, check out this playlist.

Spotify (iPhone and Android)

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Spotify is super popular all over the world and for good reason! This app contains streaming tunes for every corner of the world, including Mandarin-speaking countries. Like Xiami, you can easily find user-made playlists and albums in Chinese. Spotify is free to use with brief intermittent ads.

To find Chinese music, we suggest searching for the same keywords we mentioned in the YouTube Music entry.

We suggest checking out:

  • Chinese Songs TOP 100 playlist by David Li: This playlist is updated weekly with new mainland China pop hits.
  • 中文流行金曲 (zhōng wén liú xíng jīn qǔ) — Chinese POP playlist by Annikens: Tons of new and old Chinese pop hits.

 

It’s surprising how many Mandarin-language music apps are out there, isn’t it?

We bet at least a couple of these handy apps will become a staple for you when you’re commuting to work or school. If you can, don’t be afraid to sing along!

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