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Warner Chappell announces partnership with China’s NetEase CloudMusic

By | Published on Tuesday 12 May 2020

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The Warner Music songs business Warner Chappell has announced an alliance with Chinese streaming service NetEase Cloud Music that will see the two firms collaborate on various ventures, including the evolution of online karaoke services and the general development of intellectual property rights in China.

There has been much talk about the streaming boom in China, of course, with NetEase Cloud Music and the various services operated by its rival Tencent Music together transforming the country into the seventh biggest recorded music market in the world.

As a result of this, global record companies have been ramping up their operations in China, though there has generally been less activity on the music publishing side. There have been deals between the global publishers and the Chinese streaming companies – and the majors have often bundled Anglo-American song catalogues into their label deals – but most of the opportunities for the songs side of the business in the Chinese market are yet to be tapped.

That despite the fact that the most lucrative side of Tencent Music’s business is its karaoke and live-streaming services, where generally it’s the publishing rather than the recording rights that are being exploited. Complexities and confusion around the technicalities and ownership of song rights in China makes capitalising on those opportunities challenging, but there are potentially big rewards for those who meet that challenge.

Which means the new partnership between Warner Chappell and NetEase – and the projects and services it may or may not facilitate – will be very interesting to watch.

The former’s Digital VP for the region, Zoe Wang, says: “I’m delighted that we’ve been able to partner with the brilliant team at NetEase Cloud Music. We share a passion for enabling fans to access our amazing songwriters’ music and for creating great experiences that their users will truly value. We hope the Warner Chappell Music catalogue will further accelerate the growth of the digital music business in China with NetEase Cloud Music”.

Meanwhile, NetEase Cloud Music VP Ding Bo adds: “We are so pleased to be working with Warner Chappell Music, which has such a vast catalogue of songs that are hugely influential in China. We look forward to collaborating with them to create new experiences that’ll engage our highly active online community. That will ensure that Warner Chappell’s songwriters can benefit from the popularity of their work with Chinese music fans”.