The Deals: Tencent Music Signs Multi-Faceted Licensing Agreements with Kobalt & Cooking Vinyl
Tencent Music Entertainment (TME) has signed new licensing and distribution deals with Kobalt Music Group and the European independent record label Cooking Vinyl that will help those companies establish a firmer foothold in the Chinese market.
Under the Kobalt agreement, Tencent will license and distribute the Kobalt publishing and AWAL recording catalogs to its streaming platforms QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and Wesing while helping Kobalt expand to concerts, music festivals, online live streaming and more in China. In the future, the two companies will also embark on a content initiative to “deepen the development of music IP and explore potential new artists,” though the specific nature of that partnership is not yet clear.
“I’m excited to continue our commitment to the Chinese music market,” said Kobalt Music CEO Laurent Hubert in a statement. “With TME’s expansive user base and our all-star roster, we look forward to many creative and commercial opportunities for our artists, songwriters and partners.”
Kobalt represents over 250,000 songwriters, 600 publishers and 20,000 independent artists. Its publishing roster includes Childish Gambino, Dave Grohl, Enrique Iglesias, Lorde, Marshmello and Paul McCartney. AWAL is home to Allie X, Bruno Major, FINNEAS and Lauv, among others.
Similar to its deal with Kobalt, Tencent will make music from Cooking Vinyl’s catalog available across all of its music platforms while also assisting the label with music copyright digitalization and providing support in “music, audio and video content, performances, social entertainment and other fields.”
Launched in 1986, Cooking Vinyl offers coordinated worldwide artist campaigns and worldwide sales, marketing and distribution strategies. Over its 34-year history, it has supported successful projects from Marilyn Manson, The Cranberries, The Prodigy and more.
“The world spotlight is opening up opportunities for non-Anglo-American music and this is the perfect time to enter into this co-operation with TME,” said Cooking Vinyl chairman Martin Goldschmidt. “TME is the perfect partner for Cooking Vinyl to develop our artists and labels in China and bring our eclectic and diverse music to the Chinese audience. As China increases its importance in the global music market, musicians have attached greater attention to China. Cooking Vinyl is looking forward to delivering the spirit of indie music to a broader audience in various forms with TME.”
Mateo Dorado, the 21-year-old Alamo Records A&R executive who signed and developed Rod Wave, has signed a deal with the label for his imprint Gold Music Group.
Dorado, who joined Alamo Records in 2017, also signed rapper Brickboydior and manages rapper Comethazine. In addition to his work at Alamo, the bilingual Dorado has also worked closely with Interscope Latin executive vp Nir Seroussi.
Musical solutions company ONErpm has signed singer and actress Laura Bell Bundy ahead of the release of her forthcoming album Women of Tomorrow. The first single from the album, “Get It Girl, You Go” feat. Shoshana Bean and Anika Noni Rose, was released on Aug. 18.
Slated for release in 2021, Women of Tomorrow will “examine women’s issues in a fun, modern and sometimes theatrical way,” according to a release. Under the deal, ONErpm will share Bundy’s music via several verticals and special events, including a partnership with the nonprofit organization Women in Music (WIM).
Bundy, whose Broadway credits include Hairspray and Wicked, received a Tony nomination in 2007 for her performance as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde: The Musical. Her previous music releases include the country albums Longing for a Place Already Gone, Achin’ and Shakin’ and Another Piece of Me.
Konvict Kulture – the newly-relaunched label started by Grammy-nominated artist, producer and entrepreneur Akon – has signed a deal with New Jersey-based distributor Vydia. Under the deal, Vydia will provide technology and label services to Konvict Kulture’s future roster as well as its current developing artists, a list that includes Young Flock, Teemanay and AMIRROR.
Vydia worked with Konvict Kulture on numerous occasions prior to the deal, most recently distributing Akon’s 2020 mixtape Ain’t No Peace.
“Vydia is ahead of the game when it comes to music distribution,” said Akon in a statement. “They continue to develop their technology to match the needs of independent labels, managers, & artists, and I am excited to partner with them for the relaunch of my label Konvict Kulture.”
Metal band Tetrarch has signed a global deal with Napalm Records for the release of their sophomore album Unstable, which was recorded earlier this year with producer Dave Otera. The first single from the album, “I’m Not Right,” was put out in May.
Tetrarch’s debut album, Freak, was released in 2017.
Singer-songwriter Rotimi has re-signed with independent distributor EMPIRE in a “multi-million dollar” deal. He will be releasing a video for his new single, “In My Bed” feat. Wale, later this month.
Rotimi’s previous releases under EMPIRE include the EPs Jeep Music Vol. 1, Walk with Me and The Beauty of Becoming. He is also an actor, having starred on the Starz series Power since 2015.
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