Tencent Music antitrust investigation paused in China (report)

China’s antitrust authority’s Tencent Music Entertainment Group (TME) investigation has been put on hold.

That’s according to Bloomberg which, citing people familiar with the matter, reports that the country’s State Administration of Market Regulation “told Tencent Music and the record labels in January [2020] that it had paused the investigation”.

The news that Tencent Music was being investigated in China for alleged anti-competitive practices broke in August last year.

China’s State Administration of Market Regulation reportedly launched the investigation in January 2019 to review the firm’s deals with Warner Music, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.

Universal, Sony and Warner, said Bloomberg’s report last August, sold “exclusive rights to a major chunk of their music catalogues” to the music platform, which then “sub-licenses that content to smaller rivals”.

One of Bloomberg’s sources stated at the time that it can “be twice as expensive” for competitors such as ByteDance or Alibaba to license music for the rest of the world from Tencent compared to licensing it direct from the labels.

No reason was given by China’s State Administration of Market Regulation about why the investigation has been suspended, according to Bloomberg’s sources cited in today’s article.

It adds however, that “the move happened around the same time Tencent Music licensed songs to” TikTok parent ByteDance.

Tencent Music is also home to three of China’s leading music streaming services, QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music.

Tencent Music Entertainment officially started trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TME on December 12, 2018.

Just before the end of 2019, TME parent company Tencent Holdings signed a share purchase agreement with Vivendi to acquire 10% of Universal Music Group.Music Business Worldwide

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