Tunecore and CD Baby have both signed deals with Tencent Music Entertainment Group, which is the largest music streaming service in China. But Chinese distribution could be tricky for certain artists.
Tunecore and CD Baby are among the largest DIY music distributors, with CD Baby now falling under the Downtown Music Publishing umbrella. The deal with Tencent, which serves hundreds of millions of users, gives DIY artists the ability to distribute their music not only to the indie and DIY networks of Tencent but also to its subsidiaries and partners.
No word on how artists will be censored in the massive country, though even mildly-controversial artists may encounter problems. This is an entirely new terrain, though both distributors have undoubtedly prepared for some pushback from Tencent and the People’s Republic of China.
The Tencent umbrella covers a number of different sub-platforms. When artists distribute their music to Tencent, which is one of the pioneers of music streaming in China, it becomes available on the following Chinese platforms:
QQ Music is one of the top music services in China. They have a large library of both music and music-related videos. Their focus is on the artists and the songs that are popular with young Chinese, and they offer a platform that supports new releases of digital music as well as exclusive ones. They also try to promote interaction between artists and their fans.
Kugou is another one of the top music services in China. They focus on music that appeals to a mass market of people and they offer a wealth of features as well as a significant number of users throughout the country.
Kuwo is a music service that focuses on select musical genres that appeal to a wide range of musical tastes. These genres include children’s songs and DJ mixes.
At the moment, the 3 services account for about 75% of all music streaming in China.
Tracy Maddux, CEO of CD Baby, believes that the deal with Tencent provides DIY artists “tremendous potential” for being heard. Scott Ackerman, who is the CEO of TuneCore, echoed Maddux’s words. He called the Chinese distribution deal with Tencent an “opportunity” for their music artists to “expand their audiences and scale their income.”