Huge new licensing agreement signed by Warner Music and Tencent Music Entertainment

Image Credit: Tencent Music

The new deal renews the ten-year-old partnership between Warner and Tencent Music who will also launch a joint record label.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group and Warner Music have officially signed a huge new licensing agreement. The two companies, both giants of the worldwide music industry, first joined forces a decade ago and the new deal renews the previous agreement as well as expanding it.

Tencent Music owns some of the biggest music platforms in China, and following the deal Warner Music’s songs will continue to be available across the whole of the country. Tencent’s platforms include its livestreaming platforms and QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, along with karaoke platform WeSing.

Simon Robson, President of International at Warner Recorded Music said: “Our collaboration with TME has already delivered tremendous results for local and international artists, and now we’re opening up even more opportunities together. Alongside our increased investment in A&R and marketing in Greater China, 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.”

Additionally, the companies will launch a joint record label. The announcement contained scant details as to what form the label would take, only that it will leverage “Warner Music’s global resources and experience in supporting artists’ careers, as well as TME’s massive influence in mainland China’s music and entertainment market.”

Tencent now has joint labels with all of the “big three” record labels after last year signing a similar agreement with Universal Music, establishing a record label to promote Chinese artists to the wider world.

TC Pan, Tencent Music’s Group VP of Content Cooperation, said: “Going forward, with our joint exploration of the emerging music market for designated connected devices in mainland China, we will further optimize value in recorded music distribution. Through the new joint venture and other forms of deeper collaboration with Warner Music, we will seamlessly integrate the premium A&R capability of an international recording company with our vibrant and massive online music ecosystem, to discover unique musical talent and content, and bring unparalleled music experiences to fans as we showcase ‘new generation’ artists to the global music market.”

Neither company is prone to resting on their laurels. In January Tencent Music’s reach spread into the audiobook industry, buying the Lazy Audio platform for $416m. The Chinese music giant also owns a large stake in Warner Music Group, purchasing a $100m stake in the company in June 2020. Meanwhile Warner has this year invested in the gaming platform Roblox and signed a distribution deal with Rotana, one of the largest record labels in the the Middle East.

I write about music for RouteNote, sharing fun stuff, news, and tips and tricks for musicians and producers. Also a saxophonist and hater of marmalade.

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