China-based music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music has entered into a strategic deal with RYCE Entertainment, described by NCM as “one of China’s leading music and entertainment companies”.
Founded in 2021, RYCE Entertainment’s roster includes stars like Jackson Wang (K-Pop group Got7 member), Amber Liu (former K-Pop group f(x) member), Tablo, PSY.P, Caelan Moriaty, and others.
As part of the deal, NCM, operated by Chinese tech giant NetEase‘s subsidiary Cloud Village, gets a 30-day exclusive window for new releases from RYCE Entertainment (including music by superstar Jackson Wang).
Streaming service deals with rightsholders that include similar 30-day exclusivity windows aren’t uncommon in China.
Last year, for example, Chinese music company TF Entertainment (Time Fengjun Entertainment) struck deals with Tencent Music Entertainment and NetEase Cloud Music, but TME was granted a 30-day exclusivity window for TF Entertainment releases on its platforms.
TME, which operates Chinese streaming platforms QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo, is NetEase Cloud Music’s biggest rival in the Chinese music market.
The 30-day exclusivity window for TF Entertainment releases on Tencent Music’s platforms arrived nearly a year after TME and its majority-owner Tencent Holdings were ordered to relinquish exclusive deals held with global labels in China.
TME was investigated, in 2019, for striking exclusive licensing deals with the three major record companies in the territory.
As part of the ban, the company was permitted to keep its exclusive deals with independent artists, with a time limit of three years for such agreements and, according to a statement issued at the time, new songs, as long as the exclusive window is no longer than 30 days.
According to Tencent’s announcement from August 2021, the company gave up the right to exclusive deals with relevant music copyright holders “except for the case where the exclusive cooperation period with independent musicians does not exceed three years, and the exclusive release period of new songs does not exceed 30 days”.
Within TME’s press materials announcing its deal with TF Entertainment, the company claims to have “become the audio streaming platform where many of the world’s top record labels first release their new music in China”.
Tencent Music Entertainment previously inked deals with Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music, and these agreements enabled it to license the music from the majors for its own platforms, in addition to exclusively sub-licensing these catalogs to local rivals.
TME inked its latest licensing agreements with Universal and Warner in the past two years without an exclusive sub-licensing right, allowing these companies to strike separate direct deals with rival companies in China, including TME’s main competitor, NetEase Cloud Music.
Other recent deals struck by NetEase Cloud Music include the renewal its existing partnership with Taiwan-based independent record label Rock Records to distribute the latter company’s music catalog in China.
Cloud Music also recently inked deals with Modern Sky, Emperor Entertainment Group, China Record Group, Feng Hua Qiu Shi, Yuehua Entertainment, Linfair Records, SM Entertainment, TF Entertainment, YG Entertainment, KAO!INC, Avex, Pony Canyon and B’in Music.
At the end of 2022, Cloud Music had 189.4 million monthly active users across its online music services, up from 182.6 million from the end of 2021.Music Business Worldwide