China bans digital music platforms from signing exclusive deals

Photo by Fausto García on Unsplash

China‘s copyright authority said on Thursday digital music platforms are not allowed to sign exclusive copyright agreements except in special circumstances, amid a regulatory crackdown on monopolistic behaviour in the country’s private sector.

The National Copyright Administration of China (NCAC) gave the order on Thursday at a meeting in Beijing with influential digital music platforms, as well as record and songwriting copyright companies, according to a statement published on the NCAC’s official WeChat account.

The order comes amid a widening crackdown by Chinese regulators on the country’s technology sector, which has focused on issues such as monopolistic behaviour, unfair competition, and consumer rights.

Last year, Tencent Holdings announced it had ended all exclusive music copyright agreements after it was ordered by China‘s market regulator to do so. The regulator had said the firm held more than 80% of exclusive music library resources which increased its leverage over upstream copyright parties and allowed it to restrict new entrants.

The NCAC did not mention which companies were called in on Thursday. Besides Tencent, smartphone maker Xiaomi, telecommunications provider China Mobile, and Internet tech giant Netease all own popular streaming services in China. Globally popular streaming services like Spotify are banned in mainland China.

The NCAC said that while copyright practices had improved since 2015, when the authority banned unlicensed music streaming and ordered platforms to remove millions of songs, the industry still needed to be further standardized.

“The talks emphasized that record companies, songwriting copyright companies and digital music platforms should … settle payment according to a guaranteed sum plus a share of actual usage, and should not sign exclusive copyright agreements except under special circumstances,” it said.

Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.