Music Ally Report:: Q3 2020 Edition

Our main feature focuses on TikTok’s eventful 2020 so far, from the deepening of its relationship with artists and the music industry to its tangles with the Trump administration, along with the rise of the short video apps category more generally. Our Second Look section analyses recent stories and data around Hipgnosis Songs Fund; Tencent […]

300k listeners voted on the songs for Tencent Music’s new compilation

In China, Tencent Music has plenty of history as a direct distribution channel for independent musicians, which is now concentrated in its Tencent Musician arm. Its latest project is interesting. ‘Root Music’ is a collection of Chinese folk tracks in local dialects, with its lineup chosen by listeners rather than by Tencent Music’s own curators. […]

Indian short-video app MX TakaTak is doing 1bn+ daily views

We’ve been writing about the jockeying for position in the Indian short-video apps market in the wake of TikTok’s ban there. Now another of the contenders has been talking (to the Economic Times) about its growth. MX TakaTak says it has more than 10 million daily active users and 45 million monthly active users, with […]

Indian streaming service Gaana raises $50 million in debt

The largest Indian streaming platform, Gaana, has raised the equivalent of just over $50 million in debt from Tencent Cloud Europe and Time Internet, reports Indian startup news site Inc42. Tencent’s involvement accounts for nearly $41 million of the deal in a new allocation of shares, with Times Internet, the majority owner, making up the rest. Gaana […]

Tencent’s WeSing is keeping China’s karaoke sector thriving

Karaoke is enormously popular with people of all ages in China, with millions flocking to ‘KTV venues’ [karaoke bars] to partake in singalongs. The Chinese government’s 2019 China Music Industry Development Report valued the karaoke sector at RMB 101.07bn (nearly $14.6bn) in 2019, up 12.3% year-on-year with that rise driven in part by online karaoke […]

PubG Mobile, the world’s top mobile game, made $208.8m in July

The amount of money sloshing around in the mobile games industry continues to startle. According to analytics firm Sensor Tower, the top mobile game in July 2020 was PubG Mobile, published by Tencent. It generated $208.8m in user spending via in-app purchases on Google and Apple’s app stores that month. Comparison time: Tencent Music generated less […]

UMG signs NetEase deal and launches label with Tencent Music

It was a busy day for Tencent Music, and for China’s digital music industry as a whole. Universal Music Group made two announcements about its latest deals there: one with NetEase Cloud Music, and the other with Tencent Music. The NetEase deal is significant: a multi-year direct licensing agreement (rather than UMG’s previous deal that […]

Executive order bans US transactions with ByteDance… and Tencent

As promised, President Trump has signed an executive order banning all transactions by US companies with TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. However, a separate order extends the ban to messaging app WeChat AND its parent company Tencent – including “any subsidiary of that entity”. Strap yourselves in. Given Tencent’s web of investments in and from music industry […]

Tencent Music reveals figures for indie artists initiative

‘Tencent Musician’ is Tencent Music’s program for independent artists in China, offering them distribution and promotion across its three streaming services. To celebrate the initiative’s third birthday, Tencent Music (TME) has published some figures. “The program has generated 590 million yuan in revenue for original music content creators since its inception,” it announced. That’s around […]

Tencent has bought $200m stakes in Warner Music Group

On Friday it emerged that Chinese tech giant Tencent had bought a chunk of shares in Warner Music Group… but confusion reigned over exactly how much it had invested. The Wall Street Journal claimed it was $200m, while MBW said it was around $100m. As it turned out, both were right. Tencent Music Entertainment, the music streaming […]

Tencent plans Africa expansion for Joox music streaming service

In its last set of financial results, Tencent Music revealed that it had 644 million mobile monthly active users of its online music services, including 39.9 million who were paying. That represents the scale of its business in its homeland, China, but now its parent company Tencent Holdings is planning some music-streaming expansion in another part […]

Tencent finally seals the deal for 10% stake in Universal Music

On the very last day of 2019, Tencent Holdings (heading up a consortium of investors) signed an agreement to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group. Now, in a neat bit of quarterly timing, that deal went through on the very last day of the first quarter of 2020. As previously announced, the deal valued Universal Music Group […]

Today’s positive coronavirus-related industry news (26 March)

We’re keeping this going, not least because positive news is keeping us going, personally… British collecting society PRS for Music has launched an Emergency Relief Fund for its members, created with the PRS Members’ Fund and PRS Foundation. To qualify, applicants have to have been members of PRS for at least two years and earned over £500 […]

Tencent Music talks album sales and independent artists

Earlier this week we reported on Tencent Music’s latest financial results, including the news that it now has 39.9 million paying users for online music. Note, that’s not just ‘subscribers’, because Tencent Music also sells music – digital albums – through its streaming services. In the company’s earnings call with analysts, it talked about some of the recent […]

How many users do Spotify, Apple Music and other big music streaming services have?

Sometimes the statistics around how many people are streaming music – and how many are paying for it – can lead to confusion and misinterpretation. Recently, for example, we’ve seen one story suggesting that Amazon was “on course to overtake Apple Music” based on comparing an Amazon figure from January 2020 with one from Apple […]

Music Ally Report 426: Trends of 2019

This year we’ve picked 42 (also the answer to life, the universe and everything as fans of Douglas Adams will know) of the trends and moments we found most significant in 2019. What are they? *takes deep breath* industry growth; the European Copyright Directive and Music Modernization Act; Spotify’s two-sided marketplace; Apple Music’s bundled future; […]

Impala to oppose Tencent investment in Universal Music Group

Independent-music body Impala has come out against plans for Chinese technology company Tencent to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to buy a further 10%. “Even at a low level of shareholding, we believe the risk of harm for consumers and competitors from such a transaction would be a concern […]

Tencent may seek partners for Universal Music investment

It’s been known for some time that Chinese tech firm Tencent is in talks to buy a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, with an option to acquire another 10% for up to a year afterwards. The deal is thought to value UMG at around €30bn, but now there’s been a development: Tencent may not […]

Tencent Music’s Andy Ng talks AI recommendations and karaoke expansion

In a keynote interview at the Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) conference in Amsterdam, Tencent Music’s Andy Ng outlined his role in combatting piracy in China, building a legal streaming market there and why he and his employers are betting heavy on the EDM boom. Ng stepped back from his role as group VP at Tencent […]

TuneCore and CD Baby move into China with Tencent deal

Acts distributed by TuneCore and CD Baby will now be available to listeners in China – or, to be more precise, listeners who use Tencent’s music offerings. The deals cover QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo, who collectively reach 652m people in China according to Billboard. “We create partnerships, tools and services that bring the greatest possible […]

Blizzard under fire over ban for esports player’s Hong Kong comments

Games firm Blizzard is attracting criticism for its decision to fine and ban an esports player who expressed support for the current pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during a post-match interview. Chung Ng Wai was a competitor in an esports tournament for Blizzard’s game Hearthstone, and the publisher (which also runs the event) quickly stripped him of […]

Tencent Music under pressure over exclusive licensing deals

One of the quirks of China’s music-streaming market has been the system of exclusive licensing deals: where a label will license its catalogue exclusively to one streaming firm, which will then sub-license it to its rivals. There has been talk for several months of the system being done away with at the behest of regulators. […]

Tencent Music now has 31m paying online-music users

Tencent Music published its latest financial results yesterday, and they revealed sluggish growth for active users of the company’s three online-music services in China, but a much more-sprightly rise in the number of paid subscribers for those services. The company ended Q2 with 652 million mobile monthly active users across QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music, […]

Tencent Music now has 28.4m paying users for online music

Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) reported its financial results for the first quarter of 2019 overnight, and there are plenty of big numbers as you’d expect. Overall revenues grew by 39.4% year-on-year to RMB 5.74bn ($855m) as TME recorded an RMB 987m ($147m) net profit – as usual benefitting from the fact that a significant chunk of its […]

Tencent Music invests in music-streaming service Douban FM

Tencent already owns three of the main music-streaming services in China. Now it has invested in a fourth: Douban FM. However, the deal is being described (by TechNode) as a strategic investment that will see Tencent providing support in the form of ‘product design and copyright authorisation’ rather than cash. The report notes that Douban FM […]

Tencent Xiaowei virtual-assistant will link to QQ Music

Just as Apple gets set to launch its HomePod (Siri voice-assistant included) in China, so local tech giant Tencent is preparing to launch a new smart-assistant of its own. It’s called Xiaowei, and according to Bloomberg will make its debut within Tencent’s hugely-popular WeChat messaging app. “The assistant will link to a plethora of Tencent’s […]

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