Tencent Music inks another important label deal in China – with Cooking Vinyl

Earlier this week, China’s Tencent Music Entertainment announced a fresh licensing deal with Universal Music Group. It was a particularly intriguing deal for a number of reasons, not least because: (i) TME is a minority stakeholder in Universal; (ii) As part of the deal, TME and UMG also launched a new JV label in China; and (iii) It was a non-exclusive agreement, with UMG also inking a new deal with Tencent rival NetEase Cloud Music.

But that wasn’t the only big news for the record industry regarding TME this week.

UK-based independent Cooking Vinyl has today (August 13) announced its own deal with Tencent Music Entertainment – described as an “exclusive license and distribution” agreement.

The deal ensures that CV’s music will be available on TME services including QQ Music Kugou Music, Kuwo Music, and WeSing.

The deal also appears to include two-way benefits: CV says it is keen to work with TME in order to help its artists collaborate with Chinese acts. CV is also hoping to “give an international audience” to Chinese acts as a result of the partnership.

The wider significance of Cooking Vinyl’s deal will be apparent for those with longer memories.

For one thing, CV’s last deal in China was an exclusive tie-up Alibaba’s Xiami – a rival to TME’s services – announced in 2017. Secondly, Cooking Vinyl has a long history of deals in China: After China joined the World Trade Organisation in 2001, CV says it was the first record company to do a label licensing deal (with Shanghai Audio Visual) in the country.

“[Tencent Music is] the perfect partner to develop our artists and label in China… What is really exciting is the possibilities for collaborations of our artists with Chinese artists and also giving an international audience to Chinese artists.”

Martin Goldschmidt, Cooking Vinyl

In a joint announcement with Tencent Music Entertainment today, Cooking Vinyl says that, as a result of its new deal, “TME will use their leading position in China’s music industry… to leverage their various companies and their market power to ensure maximum exposure to Cooking Vinyl’s digital catalog”.

The deal, says CV, will include “many avenues of support and promotion” for the label’s roster of artists, which include Marilyn Manson, The Cranberries, The Prodigy, Passenger and Nina Nesbitt (pictured).

Cooking Vinyl chairman Martin Goldschmidt said: “The world spotlight is opening up opportunities for non Anglo-American music and this is the perfect time to enter into this co-operation with Tencent Music.

“They are the perfect partner to develop our artists and label in China and bring our eclectic and diverse music to the Chinese audience.

“What is really exciting is the possibilities for collaborations of our artists with Chinese artists and also giving an international audience to Chinese artists. We are very excited to depart on our new journey in China with TME.”

TC Pan, VP of TME and head of the company’s content cooperation department, added: “Tencent Music Entertainment Group has long invested in and supported original and emerging music.

“Cooking Vinyl champions the music and careers of artists, and gives artists freedom in content creation which is quite aligned with the values of TME.”

“Cooking Vinyl champions the music and careers of artists, and gives artists freedom in content creation which is quite aligned with the values of TME.”

TC Pan, Tencent Music Entertainment

Added TC Pan: “We will work with music labels to create content together with musicians. Through our mature online and offline operation and interaction methods established in the digital music entertainment field over the years, we can empower excellent independent musicians and give these unique artists the opportunity to stand in the spotlight.”

Other artists currently signed to Cooking Vinyl include Swim Deep, Lissie, Fantastic Negrito, The Waterboys, Rumer and The Darkness.Music Business Worldwide

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