About five months later Extension of the license agreement with Tencent Music – and one week after renewing its strategic partnership with NetEase – Merlin has officially signed a licensing agreement with Joox, another Tencent streaming service.
Merlin and Joox who operate in Asian markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Europe Thailand, revealed their licensing agreement and strategic partnership in a formal release today. As part of the contract, in addition to the karaoke option of the platform, titles from the indie music mainstay Merlin will be available to users on the advertising-financed and premium levels of Joox.
The Joox library currently offers more than 30 million songs, according to the announcement, and the agreement also gives Merlin members “access to marketing and promotional activities” for the six-year-old service. The financial terms of the contract were not disclosed in the press release, although it should be noted here that Joox continues to expand across Asia and to different continents after arriving in South Africa in 2017.
Much of the rest of the text highlights the significant growth Merlin saw in 2020 when it added 81 members, including, for the first time, members from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Peru, Singapore, Slovakia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, the London-based company has “almost doubled” its global team year-on-year and now accounts for over 15 percent of the international digital music market.
Jeremy Sirota, CEO of Merlin, commented on the license agreement and the partnership in a statement, saying in part: “Our agreement with JOOX expands our members’ access to new markets while increasing the value of JOOX. We look forward to discovering new ideas and functions with you so that Merlin members can get the most out of this exciting music platform. “
Quite a few companies in the music industry are taking steps to be present in the rapidly growing Chinese market. Live Nation announced last week that it would bring its artist discovery platform. One to watch, to fans and creators in the nation of approximately 1.4 billion people.
However, this Joox-Merlin deal is a reminder of the broader expansion across the continent – and of Tencent’s outstanding market position as the owner and operator of Joox and streaming services QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music in mainland China.
The Asian music industry grew by 9.5 percent in 2020 compared to 3.9 percent in 2019, according to the International Association of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) and its Year-end report. In addition, the growth figure for 2020 would have surpassed an astonishing 29.9 percent had it not been for a small year-over-year drop in sales in Japan, the largest music industry in Asia and the second largest music market in the world.
South Korea ranked sixth on the IFPI list of the largest music industries, after France and ahead of China’s seventh place.