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Universal and Tencent sign major licensing deal to accelerate Chinese music market

Universal and Tencent sign major licensing deal to accelerate Chinese music market

Record label Universal Music Group and distribution platform Tencent Music Entertainment Group have signed a licensing agreement that will include the distribution and licensing of Universal record labels to Chinese consumers, as well as greater development of Chinese artists.

Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, Tencent will distribute music from Universal’s roster of record labels and global recording stars on its streaming platforms QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group is a subsidiary of Chinese technology investment giant Tencent Holdings Ltd, and is one of the largest music platforms in China.

Tencent will also be Universal’s master distribution and licensing partner to exclusively sub-license Universal content to third-party music service providers in China. Universal Music Group is one of biggest record labels in the world.

Tencent will also support Universal artists to promote their music through the brand's wider online properties and other media channels.

As part of the agreement, Universal and Tencent will both contribute to the building of a recording and mastering facility, Abbey Road Studios China, intended to accelerate the development of Chinese music artists.

In making the announcement, Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, 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.

"Given recent developments in technology and the commercial environment there, now is the right time for an innovative strategic partnership with a leading Chinese company like Tencent that can meaningfully accelerate the development of the country’s entire music ecosystem and, in turn, inspire growth in creative and commercial opportunities for all artists.”

Cussion Pang, chief executive of Tencent Music Entertainment, added: “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. ”

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Jessica Goodfellow

The Drum's media reporter covering everything from publishing, TV, social media, radio and technology.

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