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CHINA'S TECH GIANTS INK MAJOR MUSIC

China's two tech behemoths, Tencent and Alibaba, have announced licensing deals with UMG, Sony and WMG

Tencent runs top music apps QQ, Kugou and Kuwo (not to mention hugely popular all-purpose app WeChat) and will license the aforementioned majors' music (inked via its TME music division, which acts as a broker to service providers) to Ma's retail titan Alibaba.

State-owned wireless carrier China Mobile has 849 million customers. Let that sink into your dome.

Needless to say, this development presents huge possibilities for growth in the world's most populous country, which has long been a haven for piracy.

A legit streaming market will undoubtedly mean megabucks for the majors, though to achieve the pact meant accepting the Chinese government's insistence on Chinese control of the musical spigot. What could this mean for the free expression of ideas in songs China's consumers can stream? 

Insiders say that the vast majority of music streamed in China is independent Asian content, much of it Taiwanese; whether many Western pop acts will break through there as streaming grows remains a very open question.

Tencent is said to be preparing a spinoff of TME, though, so it's definitely making a big bet on music.

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