Business News Deals Digital

Tencent and Alibaba both expand music catalogues through new deal

By | Published on Wednesday 13 September 2017


Two of China’s biggest internet companies have agreed a music-based deal that will expand the catalogues of recordings available to both firms.

Legitimate streaming is finally gaining real momentum in the Chinese market, of course. An interesting quirk of the digital music sector in China is that companies like Tencent both operate the services and distribute or control the content, meaning other streaming set-ups need licences from their rivals to access catalogue.

The new deal is between Tencent and Alibaba. Under the arrangement, the latter will gain access to music the former is distributing in the Chinese market for global labels like Sony and Universal. For its part, Tencent will get access to Chinese and Japanese recordings controlled by Alibaba.

The FT quotes tech columnist Li Jun as saying that deals like this improve the growing streaming market in China by ensuring – as elsewhere – any one subscription service offers users pretty much all the music they’d want to access.

“This deal will protect the newly-nurtured paying habits of the Chinese audience”, says the columnist. “In the past the Chinese audience had to pay several times on different platforms to enjoy the complete music pool of only one singer – it greatly hurt the user experience. Now they can pay only once to enjoy all the music”.