Tencent Music streams Beatles albums on path to IPO

Tencent Music last year signed a distribution and licensing agreement with Universal Music, including to build Abbey Road Studios China, inspired by the famous Beatles recording studio in London

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 2:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2018, 2:13pm

The Beatles have made their streaming debut on Tencent Music in China.

Users of Tencent Music and three of its platforms, QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo, are able to listen to selected songs from 28 Beatles albums for free, with others available with a subscription. The service was available since March 22 and a check showed songs like My BonnieGet on the Right Track Baby can be streamed for free. 

Tencent Music will also launch five documentaries about the London group spread over five weeks as a tribute, according to A representative for Tencent did not return a phone call or reply to an emailed request for comment. 
Tencent Music, which is widely expected to be spun off into an initial public offering, and its platforms vie for listeners with other streaming services including Netease Music, Alibaba Group’s Xiami Music and Baidu Music.

China’s tech giants are engaged in intense competition to acquire and create content, whether music, movies, TV dramas or games, to attract and retain users across their various platforms. By increasing the time users spend on social media, playing online games or listening to music, tech companies can sell more advertising or cross-sell products and services.

Last year, Tencent signed a licensing agreement with Universal Music Group (UMG) that was seen to significantly expand the company’s digital music distribution business in China.

The multiyear deal will enable Tencent Music to distribute UMG’s roster of record labels and global recording stars on its streaming platforms QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo. In addition, UMG and Tencent Music said they will work together to design, build and develop Abbey Road Studios China, a state-of-the-art recording and mastering facility inspired by the French-American firm’s iconic studio in London.

Tencent also agreed in December to swap minority stakes with Spotify, the world’s biggest music streaming service, valuing the Chinese service at US$12.3 billion.

The Shenzhen-based tech giant, which also operates the 1-billion user WeChat social network. China Literature, its online book publishing unit, listed in Hong Kong in November. 

Alibaba is the owner of South China Morning Post.