Universal agrees deal to stream on China's Tencent's services

Smartphone users watch digital content Image copyright AFP
Image caption Tencent says it has has 600 million monthly active users in China

Tencent has struck a licensing deal to distribute Universal Music's content on its streaming platforms in China.

Artists with Universal, the world's largest music company, will be available on Tencent's QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo services.

The companies will also build Abbey Road Studios China, inspired by the famous London recording facility.

Tencent now handles music from three of the world's top labels including Warner and Sony.

The deal not only covers Tencent's own platforms but also allows it to exclusively sub-license Universal Music's content to third-party music service providers in China.

The Chinese internet giant says it already provides more than 17 million songs to 600 million monthly active users.

Entertainment industry veteran and president of Music Matters Jasper Donat told the BBC it could be a "game changer" for the music industry in the Asia Pacific region.

"Tencent is solidifying their claims as the only legitimate streaming service in China and their reputation as a trustworthy partner in the music industry," he said.

The chairman and chief executive of Universal Music Group, Sir Lucian Grainge, said recent developments in technology and the commercial environment in China meant is was "the right time for an innovative strategic partnership with a leading Chinese company like Tencent".

Sir Lucian added that Tencent could help to speed up China's "music ecosystem" and "inspire growth in creative and commercial opportunities for all artists".

Mr Donat said the plan to build Abby Road Studios China would further promote the country as "an exciting new opportunity for music artists while still accepting that it is a challenging market to do business".

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