Kobalt Music Enters Into Strategic Licensing and Distribution Deal with NetEase in China

NEW YORK and BEIJING, DECEMBER 4, 2017 - Kobalt Music and NetEase (NDAQ: NTES) today announced an agreement for the Chinese internet and music service company to license and distribute the Kobalt publishing and AWAL recording catalogs on its streaming platform, NetEase Cloud Music. NetEase will also be the sub-licensor of Kobalt and AWAL content in China. Also part of this deal, AMRA, Kobalt’s wholly owned global collection society, will work closely with NetEase operations to provide digital processing and reporting services to further uplift royalty earnings and maximize value for Kobalt clients.

NetEase will represent more than 600,000 songs and recordings from Kobalt’s publishing and master catalogs. This includes the prestigious song catalogs of Paul McCartney (MPL) and Max Martin (MXM), which features songs recorded by Taylor Swift, Adele and Katy Perry. 

NetEase will also have access to songs recorded by world-renowned artists such as Justin Bieber, Crowded House, Miles Davis, Fleetwood Mac, Flume, Foo Fighters, Gotye, Lauv, Zayn Malik, Maroon 5, Stevie Nicks, Sinead O’Connor, Pet Shop Boys, Elvis Presley, Lionel Richie, Ed Sheeran, Skrillex, among many others.

The agreement will cover many famous songs from Asian artists such as A-Lin, Jolin Tsai, Wanting Qu, Jane Zhang, and Bibi Zhou, as well as including the catalog of EKKO Music Rights; Big Bang, EXO, F(X), Girls’ Generation, Shinee and Super Junior.

Transparency, Artist Collaboration, and Unlocking New Pay Models in China

Kobalt and NetEase will work closely to drive increased creative collaboration, development of artists, and enforced copyright protection for Kobalt writers and artists. This partnership will also improve transparency for creators and drive new access to data, reporting, and sustainable pay models. 

“As we continue on our journey to help bring the music industry into the digital age, monetizing the huge Chinese music market has always been a priority for us,” said Founder & CEO of Kobalt Music, Willard Ahdritz. “This partnership reinforces not only our commitment but also creates a world of new collaborative opportunities for our artists and songwriters.”

President and Chief Revenue Officer of Kobalt Music, Laurent Hubert, added, “The Chinese market is the next great land of opportunity for the music market as hundreds of millions of fans, especially the younger generations, will pay for an engaging music streaming experience. NetEase is a natural fit for our catalog as they have millions of young members who embrace music from across the globe. Additionally, NetEase believes in doing what’s best not only for their customers but doing right by creators as well — the latter being something we base our ideals on as well.”

China’s Fastest-Growing Music Service

NetEase Cloud Music, launched in April 2013, is a music product well known for its user-friendly interface that helps music fans discover and sharing capabilities. Over the past four years, it has shown a faster growth rate than other similar products in the market. Today, the service has over 400 million users.

NetEase Cloud Music CEO, Zhu Yiwen said, “We are honored to be the strategic partner of the world’s leading music group, Kobalt Music in mainland China – it is also an endorsement of our pan-entertainment industry effort that will benefit music fans and artists. We will aim to use our deep industry knowledge and huge user base to expand Kobalt Music’s reach in the market.”

Kobalt Commitment to Asia

Kenney Shiu, Director, APAC for Kobalt Music, commented, “Last year, Simon Moor and I established Kobalt Hong Kong and have restructured Kobalt’s business across Asia to bring greater benefits to writers and artists alike. This latest agreement continues to assert our commitment to the China music market and the region as a whole.”

About Kobalt 

Kobalt is the world’s leading independent music services company, built for artists, songwriters, publishers and labels as an alternative to the traditional music business model. Kobalt’s commitment to technology, transparency, and creators’ rights has driven tremendous growth year-over-year for the company and its clients. Today, Kobalt’s Music Publishing, Neighbouring Rights, and Recordings/AWAL divisions serve over 25,000 songwriters, 600 publishers, and 20,000 independent artists, including The Chainsmokers, Kelly Clarkson, Miles Davis, Dave Grohl, Zayn Malik, Bob Marley, Max Martin, Paul McCartney, Stevie Nicks, Pitbull, Elvis Presley, Skrillex, Sam Smith, and many more. Kobalt represents on average over 40% of the top 100 songs and albums in both the US and UK.

Kobalt’s global technology platform is uniquely able to track and collect royalties for the billions of micro-payments per song in digital music today. Kobalt offers its clients a variety of services, including creative services, synch & brand partnerships, global licensing management, neighboring rights, works and rights distribution, royalty collection and processing, the Kobalt and AWAL Portals and Apps, YouTube monetization, record release management, digital distribution, and marketing. For more information on Kobalt, please contact: info@kobaltmusic.com, or visit us at www.kobaltmusic.com

About NetEase

NetEase is a Chinese Internet technology company providing online services centered on content, community, communications and commerce. Founded in 1997, the company was a key pioneer in the development of Internet services for China. Today, NetEase develops and operates some of China's online PC and mobile games, advertising services, e-mail services and e-commerce platforms.

NetEase Cloud Music is a music and video streaming service developed and operated by NetEase, Inc. It is also the fastest growing and best-known music product in China.

About AMRA

AMRA is the first of its kind — a global digital music collection society that takes a direct approach to digital licensing, collection and administration. AMRA is designed to maximize value for songwriters and publishers in today's digital age, while providing the highest level of transparency and efficiency. Global and direct, AMRA is able to provide its publisher and writer clients with the most transparent and accurate reporting in the industry.

AMRA has offices in New York and London. AMRA is owned by Kobalt Music Group. AMRA licenses Kobalt's K-Tech, the world's most advanced rights and content management platform, to directly and efficiently collect, process and account for the billions of micro-transactions in today's complex digital landscape. AMRA operates independently and is entirely business separated from Kobalt's publishing operations.

For more information on AMRA, please visit www.amra.com

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