Tencent Music wins copyright lawsuit against Alibaba-backed NetEase Cloud Music

The lawsuit is related to hundreds of songs by the popular Chinese singer Jay Chou.

Photo credit: KrASIA

Hangzhou-based NetEase Cloud Music and two of its affiliated companies have been recently ruled by a court in Shenzhen to compensate Tencent Music Entertainment RMB 850,000 (USD 121,487) for violating music copyright the latter owns, according to the Paper.

The lawsuit is related to hundreds of songs by the popular Chinese singer Jay Chou. Tencent has exclusive deals with international music labels such as Sony and Universal Music, and owns the rights over Chou’s songs, but granted NetEase Cloud Music to offer Chou’s songs on its platform between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2018, under three copyright agreements.

The two parties later failed to renew the copyright agreement after March 31, 2018, since Tencent Music projected to raise the fees for the use of such songs. Tencent Music consequently proved to the court that NetEase Cloud Music kept offering Jay Chou’s songs on its platform without authorization.

Tencent Music’s latest win will boost once again the rivalry between these two Chinese music giants.

Tencent Music is China’s top streaming dog, housing four services: QQ Music, Kugou, Kuwo, and We Sing, while NetEase Cloud Music is trying to catch up. Earlier in September, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and Jack Ma’s Yufeng Capital invested USD 700 million in NetEase Cloud Music’s Series B2 financing round, buying a 20% stake.

Tencent Music had 652 million mobile MAUs for all its online music apps in the second quarter of this year, a 1.2% year-on-year increase, without taking into account users logging into the internet via a computer, according to its earnings release.

In March, NetEase Cloud Music had 132 million MAUs, up 27.5% year-on-year, according to Chinese market intelligence agency QuestMobile.