China’s Alibaba amps up its online entertainment push with BMG deal

March 30, 2015 12:16 PM

(Bloomberg)—Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. agreed to distribute music from Black Sabbath to Kylie Minogue online in China under a deal with Bertelsmann SE, bolstering its streaming apps in the country.

The pact between Alibaba’s digital-entertainment unit and Bertelsmann’s BMG division includes more than 2.5 million songs from artists such as the Smashing Pumpkins, Bruno Mars and the Rolling Stones, which will be streamed via Alibaba’s Xiami and TTPod apps, the companies said Monday. Hangzhou, China-based Alibaba will also monitor and act against digital and mobile services infringing the rights of BMG artists.

“This is a game-changing deal for BMG,” Dora Yi, chief investment officer at BMG China, said in a statement. “Alibaba is one of the most progressive and successful companies in China and is the ideal partner for us as we begin to unleash the potential of BMG’s catalog here.”

BMG is the fourth-largest owner of music rights and has focused on making China a key territory for sales growth. Alibaba, which raised a record $25 billion in an initial public offering in September, has drawn investors wanting to benefit from e-commerce traffic in China, the world’s largest Internet market.

Guetersloh, Germany-based Bertelsmann, Europe’s largest media company, took full ownership of BMG from former partner KKR & Co. two years ago, after initially selling its record music unit to Sony Corp. for $900 million in 2008.




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