Warner Music Partners With Tencent on Joint Venture Record Label in China

The headquarters of Tencent
GREG BAKER/AFP via Getty Images

A dominant player in digital music in China, Tencent has been licensing songs from Warner Music for over a decade.

Warner Music and Tencent Music Entertainment Group said Tuesday that they have expanded their long-running licensing relationship while also partnering on a new joint venture record label targeting the China market.

A dominant player in digital music in China, Tencent Music has been licensing songs from Warner Music for over a decade. Under the expanded deal, Warner Music's repertoire will be made available across all of Tencent's online music platforms in mainland China, which includes on-demand streaming channels QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music; the online karaoke platform WeSing, various live-streaming platforms, and over other connected devices, such as in-car audio systems.

Details about the joint venture record label were scarce, but the two partners said it would leverage "Warner Music's global resources and experience in supporting artists' careers, as well as Tencent Music's massive influence in mainland China's music and entertainment market."

Tencent bought a 20 percent stake in Universal Music Group late last year, but the Chinese company's close relationships with the other major labels have been undimmed by that agreement. Financial terms for the Warner Music agreement were not disclosed.

Said Simon Robson, president of international at Warner Recorded Music: "Our collaboration with Tencent Music 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 artist and repertoire 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."

Added Cussion Pang, CEO of Tencent Music: "We have shared the same passion and vision by closely collaborating on copyright protection, and empowering and protecting artists and their work, while unlocking the intrinsic value of music. This cooperation will be a new industry benchmark for diversified development and value creation in China's music industry."