Bridging the Gap Between Artists and Listeners in Modern Times, Lidong Liu Helps Keep Creative Industries Alive

 Lidong Liu

How people connect with technology has always fascinated Lidong Liu, but his interest in the human experience quickly became a major part of his life. In his teenage years, Lidong made his own creations; he designed and directed short films and built websites from scratch, all with the intention of trying to connect with people through his creations. The things he poured energy into were always well-received by his peers, teachers, and people in his community, so Lidong decided to pursue his passion in technology and design.

His degrees in software engineering and human-computer interactions gave him the skills needed to connect people and new technologies in different ways, but his real-world experience proved even more invaluable. In 2017, Lidong and his two friends developed a music-centric mobile application called Zuiyan. His inspiration came from his grandmother's love for Beijing Opera, and her sorrow at how young people failed to connect with the art.

Knowing that young people's lack of interest in Beijing Opera was less about the art itself and more about how it was delivered to them, Lidong focused on exposing the art in a new way. Zuiyan used cartoon illustrations, audio, and augmented reality techniques to bring live Beijing Opera to people anywhere, anytime. The application also gave people the opportunity to share unique ways in which they connected to certain songs or performances, helping drive a community understanding of the art that was fresh and easy to connect with.

The application was so innovative that it went on to win 1st place in a competition of 423 teams from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, and Singapore. The competition was hosted by the Ministry of Education of China and Apple, and since Zuiyan won, it was featured on the Apple App Store in 2018. Within the first three months, Zuiyan was downloaded 20,000 times. Its popularity propelled it into the spotlight; the application was featured on several major media channels in China such as China Daily, Tencent, and more.

When Apple saw the influence that Lidong was having in China and surrounding areas, the company invited him to the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference that same year. He was given the opportunity to show his creation to amazing leaders in the tech space, including Isabel Ge Mahe, Apple's Vice President and Managing Director of Greater China.

Though his hard work was rewarded with recognition and many opportunities early on, Lidong didn't stop there. He went on to work for Treasure Data, an affiliate of SoftBank. There, he supported complex products designed specifically for marketing and data analytics. Supporting major Fortune 500 companies like LG, Nintendo, and Warner Bros. was part of Lidong's daily role. He stood out because he had an exceptional ability to understand business challenges and absorb domain knowledge before building creative solutions. One of the products he contributed to went on to win the Frost & Sullivan award for Global Customer Data Platform Company of the Year.

Now, Lidong works at Spotify; his appreciation for music and creators has come full circle. One of his main focuses at Spotify is Spotify for Artists, a marketing tool for artists and labels to use as they promote new music on the platform. This tool enables artists to understand detailed analytics, run creative campaigns, gather user information, and more. Spotify is the largest global music streaming service in the world and Lidong gets to make a difference for the artists that rely on the platform to succeed. Similar to how Zuiyan helped invigorate a love for Beijing Opera, his work at Spotify helps artists energize their fan bases and connect with them on new levels.

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