NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the independent label sector, announced a wide-ranging deal with some of the biggest players in the Chinese streaming sector, including NetEase Cloud Music (NetEase Cloud Music), Xiami (Ali Music Group), QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo (all Tencent Music Entertainment).
The non-exclusive licensing partnerships are “uniquely structured” according to Merlin and will help streaming music to grow in China while providing accurate usage reporting and access to new markets for Merlin’s clients.
The deal will open the door to an estimated new audience of half-a-billion people – representing 90% of all digital music users in China, providing them with access to both high-fidelity repertoire to paying service subscribers, and low-fidelity versions to users of free-to-access ad-supported tiers.
To faciliate the deals, Merlin tapped music industry services company Outdustry to oversee the implementation and management of the licensing agreements. Outdustry maintains local offices in both Beijing and Shanghai, the companies said.
“This is an exciting new chapter for Merlin. For the first time, repertoire from the world’s leading independent record labels will be legitimately available across China’s five most prominent music services. I am delighted that NetEase Cloud Music, Ali Music Group, and Tencent Music Entertainment share Merlin’s confidence and aspirations to develop a new market narrative, and to lay the foundations and infrastructures of a more open, transparent and equitable future. Above all, Merlin members are now uniquely positioned to benefit from a set of truly transformative partnerships that will accelerate growth in one of the world’s most exciting and fast-evolving markets,” Merlin boss Charles Caldas said.