Just one month after striking a distribution partnership with Warner Music Group, Tencent, one of China’s biggest Internet companies and the maker of WeChat, has made a similar deal with Sony Music Entertainment. As with the earlier agreement, Tencent will have the right to distribute Sony Music Entertainment’s catalog through various online channels, including microblogging network QQ.
Earlier this month, Tencent also signed a distribution deal with South Korean music label YG Entertainment, which reps Psy along with other major Korean pop acts.
Though the music industry in China has long been plagued by online piracy, the landscape began to change in 2011, when Baidu, China’s top Internet search company, reached a licensing deal with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG that included shutting down access to pirated music found through its search engines.
Since then, China’s major Internet companies, including Baidu, Tencent, Alibaba, and China Mobile, its largest telecom, have begun offering streaming music services. The market is still tiny, however—according to the Financial Times, streaming and online music in China made up less than one percent of the $15 billion in global revenues made in 2013 by record labels.