After several lawsuits, NetEase Cloud Music and Tencent Music Entertainment( TME) finally agreed to authorize exclusive tracks that they own to each other led by a result which the country’s supervisor National Copyright Bureau( NCB ) has interfered with. According to the statement announced by NCB, 99% of the content owned by the counterparts has been resold to the other party. Meanwhile, both of them would be open to re-authorize the copyrights to the third parties.
In the statement, NCB said that it would keep pushing music streaming platforms to comply with the copyright laws, market regulations and international practices.
Last September, the supervisor questioned several major labels and platforms like TME, Baidu Music, NetEase Cloud Music and Xiami Music about the copyrights of online music. Xiami Music, owned by Alibaba Group, had already made a deal with Tencent Music Entertainment to delegate their exclusive content to each other before this.
With the popularity of digital music since 2002, and due to the non-existence of regulations, piracy issue became a huge deal in China by then. This hasn’t been stopped until 2015. That year, NCB decided to renovate this market and strike the copyright problems. Sadly, even with the supports of artists and labels, no platforms wanted to try first before others.
However, a huge turning point showed up after Taylor Swift started a battle with Apple Music, which completely disrupted the whole industry in China too. Since then, listening to mainstreaming artists became a special right only for premium members, and the free music era in China now almost meets its ending.
According to reports, Tencent Music Entertainment already achieved profitability in the second half of 2016, and acquired RMB1.6 billion (250 million dollars) in 2017. So far, its premium membership has already attracted 120 million paid users. Bloomberg said in several reports that TME is planning IPO this year, and its evaluation already reaches 10 billion dollars. On the other hand, the market evaluation of NetEase Cloud Music now is around RMB 8 billion ( 1.26 billion dollars), and with 400 million users in total.
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