After TikTok and SoundCloud, Tencent Music is now also a distributor

Over the past couple of years, music streaming services have tended to become music-agnostic distributors.

It arguably started with SoundCloud in 2019, when it launched a distribution feature that allowed artists to distribute their music to a range of rival streaming services. The following year, she launched a marketing and distribution platform for “serious artists who want to take their career to the next level”.

And last month, viral video app TikTok, owned by ByteDance, launched its own music promotion and distribution platform, called SoundOn.

Today, Tencent Music Entertainment, the owner of the largest music streaming services in China, has become one of the newest global music distributors in the industry.

TME is new a servicenicknamed “One click for all, allows independent musicians registered on its Tencent Musician platform to distribute their music on more than 150 platforms worldwide, including Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and others.

The Tencent Musician Platform is an initiative of independent artists previously known as the “Tencent Musician Program”. It was launched in 2017 and by the end of 2021, the number of musicians enrolled in the program reached more than 300,000.

Tencent Music, majority-owned by Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings, operates music apps in China, including its flagship music platform QQ Music, as well as Kugou, Kuwo, and an online karaoke service, WeSing.

Tencent Music Entertainment’s expansion into the global distribution business comes four years after rival Spotify began offering direct-to-artist distribution deals on its own (including advance payment) in 2018. then abandoned the plan.

Spotify also launched its own DIY distribution service in 2018, only to suddenly scrap the service a few months later.

Artists registered with Tencent Musician Platform could already distribute their music on TME’s own music apps.

TME revealed in December that during 2021, over 2.1 million songs independent artists were distributed through the Tencent Musician platform.

To date, TME claims to have successfully distributed and promoted over 150,000 songs to foreign platforms.

TME says the One-Click For All distribution process – the time it takes from downloading a track to seeing it appear on streaming services – takes seven working days.

Artists will receive revenue generated from overseas distribution quarterly, and TME says artists will receive 70% of those royalties.

TME will also provide musicians with a standard international registration code (ISRC) free.

The official unveiling of TME’s global distribution service for independent artists follows its partnership with Apple Music in late 2021, which allowed record labels and artists using its TME Music Cloud service to distribute their music on Apple Music.

Tencent cites musicians such as Liu Shuang, Akini JING, Joysaaaa and SARRA as having “been promoted to international audiences” via Apple Music since then.

He also cites pieces from independent Chinese artists like Piu Piu Piu by Pin Yin Shi and wild engine by Guo Gaoming, as having “gained over a million views on YouTube”.

In TME’s 2021 annual report, recently filed by the SEC, the publicly traded company explains that the Tencent Musician platform is an online service “allowing selected aspiring artists to upload original music” to its platform.

TME says that “Cultivating original works and enriching the ecosystem of independent musicians through [its] Tencent Musician Platform is another key source of our content differentiation.”

In addition to music distribution, resources available to musicians selected to join its independent artist program include song production, national and international promotion, artist and repertoire development, performance resources, protection copyrights, professional training and incentive plans.

In 2021, TME launched what it calls “an enhanced 100 million yuan (about $15 million) incentive plan” for independent artists, which it says “incentivizes eligible musicians to collaborate with us. in music creation,” as well as “to provide an incentive mechanism to help high-quality content and artists gain exposure on our platforms.”

The company adds that it has “also developed a proprietary process for matching repertoire with suitable singers and producers for promotion across multiple TME and external platforms.”

Tencent Music reached 76.2 million paying users in the fourth quarter (completed December 31, 2021), up 36.1% year-on-year.

“By leveraging our proprietary tools and technologies, we’re excited to see our investment in original music production beginning to pay off, along with a growing number of independent musicians finding a home on our Tencent Platform of musicians. »

Cussion Pang, TME

In a statement released with TME’s fourth quarter financial update, Executive Chairman Cussion Pang said, “Leveraging our proprietary tools and technologies, we are excited to see our investment in original music production begin to bear fruit, as well as a growing number of independent musicians. find a home on our Tencent Platform of musicians.

“With broad capabilities across the entire content value chain, we will continuously expand content production, licensing, operation, promotion and monetization efforts to increase scale and strengthen the quality and competitiveness of our musical catalog.”The music industry around the world

Victor L. Jones