Kobalt and Tencent Music sign records, publishing deal in China

It’s been a busy week for Tencent Music Entertainment (TME): in addition to announcing its own Q2 results, the firm has confirmed new licensing agreements with Universal Music Group and indie Cooking Vinyl in the past few days.

Today (August 14), TME confirms another important deal within the music business: a “strategic cooperation” to license and distribute Kobalt’s publishing and recorded music catalogs (via AWAL) on its platforms.

The deal means that Kobalt’s music will be available on TME services such as QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and We Sing. But there are interesting additional elements to the agreement, too.

“In the future, the two parties will join hands in content, to deepen the development of music IP and explore potential new artists,” reads a press release announcement.

It adds: “With its strategic position across the entire music entertainment industry value chain, TME will help Kobalt to simultaneously expand [into] concerts, music festivals, online live streaming and more fields, in order to effectively meet the music needs of fans all over the world.”

“We look forward to our partnership and driving the next phase of the digital marketplace transformation and working with TME on a bigger scale.”

Willard Ahdritz, Kobalt

Kobalt represents over 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers, and 20,000 independent artists.

Its publishing repertoire includes music by the likes of Childish Gambino, Dave Grohl, Enrique Iglesias, Lauv, Lorde, Zayn Malik, Marshmello, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley and The Weeknd (pictured).

Kobalt’s recorded music division, AWAL, represents artists such as Allie X, Bruno Major, FINNEAS, Lauv and many more.

The Tencent agreement represents something of a departure for Kobalt: the last time the company announced a deal in China, in 2017, it was for an exclusive tie-up with TME’s rival, NetEase Cloud Music. As a result of that deal, which now appears to have expired, NetEase sub-licensed Kobalt’s catalog to rival platforms.

“With TME’s expansive user base and our all-star roster, we look forward to many creative and commercial opportunities for our artists, songwriters and partners.”

Laurent Hubert, Kobalt

“Innovation is in the DNA of both Tencent Music Entertainment and Kobalt,” said Founder and Chairman of Kobalt Music Group, Willard Ahdritz, in reference to his company’s new deal. “We look forward to our partnership and driving the next phase of the digital marketplace transformation and working with TME on a bigger scale.”

“I’m excited to continue our commitment to the Chinese music market,” said Laurent Hubert, CEO of Kobalt Music. “With TME’s expansive user base and our all-star roster, we look forward to many creative and commercial opportunities for our artists, songwriters and partners.”

Bob Bruderman, EVP, Digital Partnerships at Kobalt Music Group also said, “This is a great step for our musicians, as well as their fans. We are honored to be partnering with TME, and look forward to exploring new innovative forms of business and collaboration.”

TME confirmed this week that, as of the end of June, its services shared some 47.1m paying subscribers.Music Business Worldwide

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