Warner Music launches label with tech giant Tencent in bid to crack Chinese market

The deal will see Warner's catalogue made available on China's three largest streaming platforms

Warner Music has joined forces with Chinese tech company Tencent to form a new record label, with the aim of increasing Warner’s presence in China.

Tencent Music Entertainment owns a number of music platforms in China including the country’s top three streaming services, QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, and karaoke platform WeSing.

Warner and Tencent have also struck a major licensing deal that will see the former’s repertoire, which includes the likes of Dua Lipa, Madonna and Ed Sheeran, made available across Tencent’s platforms as well as connected devices such as in-car audio systems.

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In a statement, the two companies said the deal will “[leverage] Warner Music’s global resources and experience in supporting artists’ careers, as well as [Tencent’s] massive influence in mainland China’s music and entertainment market”.

Tencent headquarters in Beijing CREDIT: Yan Cong/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Warner and Tencent have worked together previously, signing a licensing deal for recorded music in 2014. Rivals such as Universal and Sony have also struck similar deals with the tech giant.

Simon Robson, president (international) of Warner Recorded Music, said: “Our collaboration with [Tencent] 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 & 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.”

Earlier this year, meanwhile, Warner Music fired Scott Maclachlan, who helped launch Lorde into the international spotlight during his time as her former manager, after he admitted to sexual harassment.

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