Tencent Music Entertainment Group is currently under investigation by China’s antitrust authority, according to a report in Bloomberg published today (August 27), citing people familiar with the matter.
According to people cited in the article, the investigation could “bring an end to exclusive licensing deals it forged with the world’s biggest record labels”.
TME is majority owned by Chinese media/entertainment giant Tencent Holdings, and trades on the New York Stock Exchange.
China’s State Administration of Market Regulation launched the investigation in January this year, with the firm’s deals with Warner Music, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment under review.
Universal, Sony and Warner, says the report, sold “exclusive rights to a major chunk of their music catalogues” to the music platform, which then “sub-licenses that content to smaller rivals” which they argue is anti-competitive behavior.
One of Bloomberg’s sources stated 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.
The music company’s recently-reported financial results for the six months ending June 30, 2019 showed that it has 652 million Mobile Monthly Active Users (MAUs) and 31m paying users.
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.
Parent company Tencent Holdings is currently in discussions to buy 10%-20% of Universal Music Group.Music Business Worldwide