NetEase Teams With Warner Music to Challenge KTV King Tencent Music

TANG SHIHUA

(Yicai Global) May 12 — NetEase’s freemium music streaming platform has taken advantage of an expiring licensing agreement between its arch-rival Tencent Music Entertainment Group and a unit of the Warner Music Group to get access to the lyrics of global artists such as Katy Perry and Green Day.

Because of a deal with Warner Chappell Music, NetEase Cloud Music can present its users with the lyrics of 1.3 million songs, including those of Eric Clapton, George Michael, Madonna, Radiohead, and Steve Aoki, the Beijing-based unit said in a statement today. The pair will collaborate on developing intellectual property involving online karaoke, it added.

Before this, NetEase Cloud Music had to pay the Shenzhen-based competitor to show such lyrics on its platform. Besides the New York-headquartered entertainment giant, its peers Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment have previously signed exclusive IP leasing contracts with Tencent Music.

William Ding, the founder of NetEase, said in February that the practice of signing exclusive partnerships has caused unreasonable costs to the company. “We hope that copyright fees will return to a reasonable range in the future.”

Warner Chappell Music wishes that the partnership will further accelerate China’s digital music business growth, said Zoe Wang, regional digital vice president at Warner Chappell Music Asia Pacific.

Founded in 2013, NetEase Cloud Music raised USD700 million in its B2 round of funding, led by Alibaba Group Holding, last September. In March, the platform reached a cooperation agreement with Taipei-based independent record label Rock Records.

Editor: Emmi Laine

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