×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Universal Music Group Inks Major Licensing Deal With Tencent in China

Universal, the world’s largest music company, today announced a huge licensing agreement that will see its music distributed in China by Tencent Music Entertainment Group on the streaming platforms, QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo.

Tencent will also sub-license UMG’s content to third-party music service providers in the country, and promote its music on Tencent online properties and other media channels.

The companies will also work together to build Abbey Road Studios China, a recording and mastering facility inspired by the recording studio in London made world-famous by The Beatles and owned by UMG.

Tencent, which claims 15 million paying subscribers, is one of the largest music platforms in the region and represents a stabilizing force in the Chinese music market, which was plagued by piracy for decades. According to a release, the company provides over 17 million songs to 600 million active users every month. A report issued last month by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry listed China as the world’s 12th-largest market for recorded music with $202.2 million in 2016, a 20% jump over the previous year. Its services also include Weixin/ WeChat for communications, Qzone for social networking, QQ Game Platform, QQ.com and Tencent News and Tencent Video for video content.

The company, which struck a licensing deal with Warner Music Group in 2014 and Sony Music two years later, now handles the music from all three major labels in China.

In making the announcement, UMG chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge (pictured) said, “We’re looking forward to working with Tencent as we develop local Chinese artists and repertoire, as well as global stars, in this dynamic and expanding music market. With more than 80 years of history in China, UMG has been engaged in the unique evolution of the country’s music business and I’m looking forward to working with Tencent to bring exciting new artists and services to music fans across China.”

Tencent president Martin Lau said, “We are honored to be UMG’s master distribution and licensing partner in China. With extensive user reach and deep industry knowledge, TME is the partner of choice for the music industry to engage with music lovers.  Our partnership with the world’s leading music labels will further demonstrate our commitment to cultivating a vibrant ecosystem that benefits music lovers, artists and songwriters.”

Michael Nash, Executive Vice President of Digital Strategy at UMG, commented, “The digital opportunity in China’s music market is truly extraordinary, with over half a billion people enabled with smart phones.”

Cussion Pang, CEO of TME, said, “Leveraging UMG’s resources and our distribution capabilities, we can provide a rich and personalized experience to hundreds of millions of music lovers in China.  This strategic agreement will further strengthen our efforts in copyright protection and shift the industry towards the paid subscription model. In addition, with the establishment of Abbey Road Studios China, we will work together with UMG to help local artists produce top-quality recordings for distribution in China and across the world.”

More Biz

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Disney Fox mega deal acquisition Illustration

    Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal

    Before the end of the East Coast airing of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, Disney has formally sealed the deal on its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger said [...]

  • Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content

    Beleaguered Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content for Expansion Into Southeast Asia

    One of the most surprising first-time attendees at FilMart is Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has come to Hong Kong to acquire the video content it needs to support its strategy of expansion into Southeast Asia. The company is currently embroiled in a PR nightmare as it defends itself against accusations that its equipment could [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Goes to War With AT&T Over DirecTV Carriage Deal

    Viacom has declared war against AT&T, blasting the telco giant on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of today, Viacom has begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels [...]

  • Peloton Sued for $150 Million for

    Peloton Sued for $150 Million for Using Drake, Lady Gaga Music Without License

    A group of publishers including Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group and The Royalty Network filed a lawsuit against Peloton for infringement of more than a thousand musical works, according to a statement from the National Music Publishers Association. The plaintiffs are [...]

  • Bruce Ramer Re-Appointed to Corporation for

    Bruce Ramer Re-Appointed to Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board

    Top showbiz attorney Bruce Ramer has been reappointed to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the nonprofit org that administers federal funding for public broadcasting. Ramer, a partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, was elected chair of the CPB board in October. He previously served as board chair from 2010-2012. His [...]

  • Gary Knell

    Listen: National Geographic Chief Gary Knell on Disney Future, Fox's Legacy

    The marriage of National Geographic Partners and Disney, which becomes official today, is the proverbial brand match made in heaven. Disney is taking over the stewardship of Nat Geo Partners — a joint venture with the National Geographic Society — as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The transition comes at a time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content