Japan’s biggest music entertainment firm, Avex Group, and leading Chinese digital music platform, NetEase Cloud Music, announced the signing of an agreement forming a strategic partnership that grants the Chinese platform an exclusive license to Japanese music copyrights in mainland China. Both parties have said that they are committed to the introduction and promotion of a legal framework for the protection of the copyright of Japanese music in the mainland China market.
With the signing of the agreement, Avex has granted NetEase Cloud Music the exclusive license in mainland China to the copyright of the entire inventory of songs of artists that have signed with Avex, placing NetEase Cloud Music in the position of being the platform with the largest collection of Japanese music with proper copyright protection in mainland China. At the same time, the Chinese platform will become the exclusive management agent for the copyrights of these songs in mainland China, in terms of promotion, sales and distribution of the music as well as administration of the copyright, in a move to help Avex expand in the market.
Moreover, the strategic partnership is a milestone in that it is the first cooperation formed between a major Japanese entertainment firm and a digital music platform in mainland China as well as the first sizable entry of copyright-protected Japanese digital music into the mainland China market. Before this agreement was signed, there had been no precedent for a mainland China music platform importing Japanese digital music on such a scale.
As the leader in Japanese popular music, also known as J-Pop, Avex discovered and now manages many of the country’s most popular acts including Ayumi Hamasaki, Every Little Thing, Koda Kumi, Ai Otsuka, AAA and the Wagakki Band.
With the strategic agreement between Avex and NetEase Cloud Music in place, the entire collection of Japanese songs from these well-known groups as well as many others becomes available on the NetEase Cloud Music platform. New songs from any of these signed artists or any new acts that are signed up by Avex will be quickly added to the NetEase Cloud Music platform and, at the same time, promoted to Chinese music fans. With a further deepening of the cooperation expected in due course, Avex’s stable of artists can look forward to face-to-face meetings with Chinese music fans through diverse offline events hosted by NetEase Cloud Music.
Avex first set up an office in Taiwan office as early as 1998, when it planned its first formal entry into the Chinese market. The Taiwan office was supposed to act as a bridge into the mainland market, however, the Japanese firm shortly abandoned the effort, due to the lack of any form of legal protection for copyright in mainland China at the time. Signing the agreement with NetEase Cloud Music, as its strategy for entering the mainland Chinese Market, signals renewed expectations in terms of the market and the firm’s long term plan of promoting Japanese music to China.