China's Tencent, Sony Music in Exclusive Distribution Partnership

Chinese Internet giant Tencent and Sony Music Entertainment on Tuesday unveiled a partnership for the online distribution of music from SME's roster of artists in China.

Under the terms of the deal, music from such Sony artists as One Direction, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, and Avril Lavigne, as well as local stars including Lang Lang, Joshua Jin, Allen Su and Joanna Wang, will be distributed by Tencent's QQ Music service, which will manage distribution to local Chinese online music services.

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The deal will also see Tencent promote Sony's roster of artists in China on its various platforms, both online and offline, including working with artists on their first releases in China, online concerts, karaoke, college campus tours and awards shows, among other activities.

Tencent's QQ Music platform, which was established in 2005 and has more than 100 million active monthly users, will be a key element in the artist promotion strategy, and the company hopes to tie in mobile gaming and other social media activity found on the wider QQ platform, which the company says has more than 820 million active monthly users.

Tencent's agreement with SME follows similar deals with Warner Music and South Korea's YG Entertainment.

"We have had a relationship with Sony Music for many years; this is a step up, to develop the Chinese music market," said Downson Tong, senior executive vp at Tencent. "The market in China is a evolving rapidly, and through QQ's massive user base we can offer online and offline activity for Sony Music's entire roster of artists. Also, piracy is a concern. A closer partnership between content owners and Tencent will help combat that."

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In a statement, Edgar Berger, chairman and CEO International, Sony Music Entertainment, said: “Sony Music is excited to partner with Tencent in this landmark deal. Through its advanced digital systems operations and huge customer base, Tencent understands the amazing scope of the market for both Chinese and international artists. We share the vision that China can easily become within a relatively short period of time one of the world’s largest music markets and look forward to developing greater consumer engagement and services."