Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) has established a strategic partnership with Japan’s CoMix Wave Films Inc., the animation studio and distribution firm best known for works by helmer Makoto Shinkai.
The new partnership will see the original soundtracks from 17 popular Japanese animated films put up on TME’s music platforms: QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and KTV app WeSing.
Two of Shinkai’s films have been hits in China in recent years. “Your Name” grossed $83.7 million in the territory in 2016, while “Weathering With You” made $40.9 million there last November, making China by far the most successful territory for both films outside of Japan.
Both movies are set to a soundtrack by Japanese band Radwimps, who have a solid following in China, where they first toured in 2017.
The band continues to actively court and engage with Chinese audiences. In mid-March, it put out “Light the Light,” a song it created specifically for “Chinese people living in anxiety and fear” under the coronavirus pandemic, and distributed it for free in the mainland.
CoMix Wave said in a statement that TME’s ecosystem of digital music and entertainment platforms “offers a great environment to provide a deeper understanding of Japanese culture as embodied by music. The partnership will help the Japanese firm “accelerate its digital transformation,” it added.
TME is seeking to grow its presence in the Japanese anime, comics and games (ACG) sector, a subculture extremely popular among Chinese youth. The company signed a deal with Japanese music label Being in March 2020 that gave it the music copyrights to popular anime titles including “Detective Conan,” “Dragon Ball,” and “Chibi Maruk-chan.”
Tencent is expanding in music with more than $6 billion of investments in the sector in recent years. It paid $3.3 billion for a 10% stake in Universal Music in January, and last month paid $200 million for a 1.6% stake in Warner Music. Other strategic partners currently include Sony Music, Believe Digital, Stem Music, Roba Music Publishing, Hillsong and Twin Music.