Record Labels

Universal Music Group & Tencent Music Launch New Label in China

Universal Music Group logo.
Courtesy of UMG

Universal Music Group logo.

UMG also renewed its licensing deal with Tencent and inked a agreement with Chinese streaming platform NetEase Cloud Music.

Universal Music Group and Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) are strengthening their ties with a new joint venture music label that will develop, produce and showcase Chinese artists, the companies announced Monday (Aug. 10). The news came with announcements UMG had reached a multi-year licensing extension with Tencent, as well as a new multi-year licensing deal with Chinese streaming platform NetEase Cloud Music.

Under the renewed agreement between Tencent and UMG -- first signed in May 2017 -- Tencent will continue to distribute UMG content on its associated streaming platforms QQ Music, Kogou Music and Kuwo Music, as well as the karaoke platform WeSing.

The arrangements are the latest collaboration between UMG and Tencent, which operates the biggest streaming services in mainland China. Back in March, Tencent and a consortium completed the acquisition of a 10% stake in UMG from its parent company Vivendi for an estimated $3.3 billion.

The licensing deal with NetEase Cloud Music includes an agreement between the companies to “create innovative campaigns and initiatives” that will allow Chinese music fans to "engage" with both Chinese and international talent on UMG labels.

“Supported by our hundreds of millions music lovers, powerful promotional channels, extensive user insights, as well as well-rounded digital music services, we have been a valuable partner for the industry to engage with music lovers," said Tencent CEO Cussion Pang in a statement. "We look forward to cultivating the growth of the dynamic and expanding music entertainment industry in China, taking our shared love and pursuit of new music, to new levels that will benefit all."

Speaking for NetEase was CEO William Ding, who said of the deal, "We are confident that the partnership will bring wider choice not only for music lovers and artists, but also for the industry.”

In its second quarter earnings release Monday, Tencent reported total revenues of RMB6.93 billion ($981 million), representing an increase of 17.5% year-over-year. Online music subscription revenues grew an even more substantial 64.7% year-over-year to RMB1.31 billion ($186 million).