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Tencent Music Renews Universal Music Licensing Deal, Targets ‘Innovative Ways to Facilitate Artist-Fan Interactions’

tencent music earnings

Tencent’s Shenzhen headquarters. Photo Credit: Donald Wu

As China’s music industry continues to expand rapidly, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) have officially extended their licensing agreement.

The Big Three label and the Chinese music-streaming company, which operates QQ Music, Kuwo, Kugo, and the WeSing karaoke app, announced the extended tie-up via a formal release today. While the involved parties opted against digging into the pact’s specifics, they did reiterate that the agreement will see UMG’s catalog remain available on the mentioned platforms.

According to Tencent Music, which integrated Dolby Atmos back in the summer of 2022, these services boasted a cumulative total of 103 million paid users as of Q3 2023’s conclusion.

As an aside, it’s worth noting that China-based fans have in the past purchased (not solely streamed) a substantial number of works released by UMG acts. Moreover, the overarching Tencent conglomerate has since early 2021 possessed one-fifth of Universal Music Group.

In a statement, Tencent Music executive chairman Cussion Pang said that his company is looking “forward to enriching our cooperation” with Universal Music. Additionally, TC Pan, TME’s VP and head of content cooperation business, indicated that his employer and UMG are poised to “explore innovative ways to facilitate artist-fan interactions while unleashing artists’ creativity.”

On the other side of the union, UMG EVP of market development Adam Granite, whose own company has for a while been working in earnest to monetize superfans, highlighted plans “to help create compelling new experiences for fans across all TME platforms.”

Rounding out the executive remarks, Universal Music Greater China chairman and CEO Timothy Xu touched upon an objective of exploring “new ways to enhance” the listening experiences of fans residing in China, besides creating “new opportunities for UMG’s artists to connect with the many millions of dedicated music fans” in the nation.

Last year, South Korea’s Hybe scored a fresh distribution deal with Tencent Music, which, notwithstanding the aforementioned subscribership milestone, is grappling with heightened domestic competition.

NetEase Cloud Music, for instance, is said to have north of 200 million active users – and profitability – to its credit, according to the company’s latest earnings report. December saw the TME rival bolster its Japanese catalog by finalizing a partnership deal with Space Shower FUGA.

At the time of this writing, Tencent Music stock (NYSE: TME) was trading for $8.79 per share, reflecting a roughly 2.2 percent improvement from early January of 2023 as well as a nearly 17 percent spike from early July of last year.

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