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News March 23, 2021

Tencent, Warner Music strike ‘industry benchmark’ licensing and label joint venture

Senior Journalist, B2B
Tencent, Warner Music strike ‘industry benchmark’ licensing and label joint venture

Tencent Music is forming a joint venture label with Warner Music Group, as part of a multi-year, two-way licensing extension that completes its royal flush of partnerships with the world’s three major music companies.

Under terms of the partnership, unveiled Monday (March 22) in the China, Tencent will continue to make WMG’s repertoire available across all of its online platforms in the world’s most populous market.

Also, WMG’s repertoire will be made available via TME’s online music platforms on certain designated connected devices, such as in-car audio systems, in mainland China, according to a statement.

There’s more to come. Both parties will invest in a joint venture record label which, the media release continues, will “discover unique talent and content” and “showcase ‘new generation’ artists to the global music market.”

TME’s empire includes the streaming busineses QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, and the online karaoke platform WeSing.

Warner-Music-Group office brown halls

Warner Music Group

Artists signed to the label will have the benefit of Tencent Music’s 600-million-plus monthly users, and Warner Music’s global resources. It’s “early days” in the life of the JV, a WMG spokesperson tells Billboard.

This “renewed and expanded partnership means we can help make our artists impossible to ignore in one of the world’s fastest-expanding music markets,” comments Simon Robson, President, International, Recorded Music at WMG.

The partnership, notes Cussion Pang, Chief Executive Officer at TME, “will be a new industry benchmark for diversified development and value creation in China’s music industry.”

Through the arrangement, the expansive Chinese media giant strengthens its ties with all three majors.

Last August, TME announced the launch of a joint venture label with Universal Music, while striking a multi-year licensing extension. Later, a Tencent-led consortium upped its stake in Universal Music Group to 20%, valuing UMG at €30 billion.

In January 2018, TME teamed up with Sony Music Entertainment to create a new Asia-based dance music label, Liquid State. Around the same time, Spotify, the market-leading streaming brand, and TME each acquired a reported equity stake of about 10% in each other in a stock swap.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.

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