Major Labels

UMG Strikes New Deals With Tencent, Netease

Universal Music Group has signed multi-year licensing agreement with two Chinese tech giants – Tencent Music Entertainment and Netease.

For Tencent, the deal was a renewal and will allow the Chinese e-commerce company to continue to distribute UMG’s music on its music streaming platforms, including QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music. UMG’s content will also be licensed for use on TME’s online Karaoke platform, WeSing, along with other live streaming and expanded digital services.

The Tencent deal also included a new joint venture with UMG that will launch a new record label aimed at developing a Chinese fandom for homegrown artists.

For Tencent rival Netease, the licensing deal with UMG will allow the Chinese e-commerce and digital services giant to directly distribute UMG’s music, including domestic and international recording artists, on its streaming NetEase Cloud Music platform and associated digital services in China.

The two companies will also co-develop campaigns and initiatives to allow Chinese music fans to engage with both Chinese and international artists.

With a population of almost 1.4 billion that is quickly gaining access to digital marketplaces, China is quickly becoming one of the most important streaming markets in the world, particularly as western countries approach market saturation.

By this year, the Chinese streaming market is estimated to be worth $1.5bn with projected growth of more than 6% per year through 2025, according to data compiled by Statista.

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