The Deals: Twitch Signs Label Licensing Deals for DJ Live-Streams; Tencent Buys $70M Stake in Thailand-Based GMM Music

Twitch signed music licensing deals with all three major labels — Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment — as well as “a large number” of indie labels represented by Merlin, according to a blog post. The deals specifically cover DJs who live-stream on the platform; other uses of music are not covered.

Under the deals, starting this summer, DJs will need to opt into a new agreement that will apply to all streaming on their Twitch channels. Thereafter, a portion of DJs’ earnings on the platform will be paid to music companies, with the majority of those earnings subject to a 50-50 split between DJs and Twitch. To help DJs adjust to the change, Twitch says it will offer a one-year subsidy to help cover the difference in revenue that will be paid out to music companies, with the amount of the subsidy gradually reducing over time.

“It’s crucial that DJs understand the status quo on Twitch was not sustainable, and any viable future for the community required we find a solution,” the blog post reads. “We’ve worked with music partners over the past few years to develop this program. Without it, those who stream DJ content on Twitch without the necessary rights do so at the risk of receiving DMCA notifications and copyright penalties which could restrict their ability to stream on Twitch.”

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According to Twitch, the number of DJs streaming on the platform has “more than quadrupled” since early 2020.

Tencent and its subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment acquired a 10% stake in Thailand-based entertainment platform GMM Music for $70 million, valuing the company at $700 million. The stake will be paid for with a combination of cash and a minority stake in the Tencent-owned music streaming app JOOX Thailand. According to a press release, the deal “will strengthen GMM Music’s spin-off plan” and allow it “to expand its business, achieve sustainable growth, acquire world-class expertise, and invest in future music innovations to keep pace with the rapid evolution of the global music industry.” In a statement, GMM Music CEO Phawit Chitrakorn said the deal will help the company “drive the New Music Economy in Thailand towards sustainable growth” while allowing it to expand its business in additional markets, including China.

Neon Gold Records, the independent label known for launching the careers of artists including Tove Lo, Charli XCX and MARINA, signed a global distribution agreement with Virgin Music Group. Recent releases from Neon Gold include Good Neighbours’ debut single “Home” (now receiving global support from Capitol and Polydor) and Mt. Joy’s “Highway Queen”; other acts on the roster include The Knocks and Juliana Madrid. The label also revealed its newest signing: alt-pop band Phantogram, whose new single, “All a Mystery,” was released May 31. Neon Gold previously had joint ventures with Columbia (2010-2013) and Atlantic (2014-2024).

Bandcamp partnered with EMPIRE in a deal that will allow the independent record label to expand retail opportunities for its artists, who include Shaboozey, Key Glock, Conway the Machine, Dinner Party, Olamide, Asake and Black Sherif. With the deal, EMPIRE artists will now have the ability to connect with Bandcamp’s community of more than 47 million fans, to whom they can directly sell digital releases, vinyl and exclusive merchandise through the Bandcamp platform.

L.A.-based record label D36, which centers on aspiring musicians from South Asia and its diaspora, formed a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment. Through the joint venture, acts of South Asian heritage will better be able to connect with audiences in both South Asia and international markets, including the United States. D36 is run by CEO Abhi Kanakadandila and GM/co-founder Abdullah Ahmad.

The U.K.-based Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) partnered with KUVO Powered by DJ Monitor to help foster the adoption of KUVO’s music identification technology in U.K. venues — all in hopes of ensuring proper royalty payouts for creators of the music DJs play. According to a press release, NTIA will work to make KUVO’s technology “standard practice across the U.K. club and DJ events industry…with a focus on building towards a more transparent and fair music royalty ecosystem within the UK.” There is no cost for venues to participate in the initiative and there will be no effect on the license fees venues pay for music. It also “respects DJ setlist privacy — no details of which DJ played which tracks are captured by the technology and no playlists are publicised,” the release adds.

Downtown Artist & Label Services officially partnered with AI-powered marketing operating system SymphonyOS to offer SymphonyOS marketing tools to Downtown artists at a reduced price. The deal was struck after Downtown ran multiple successful SymphonyOS-driven campaigns with artists including Hunter Hayes, mehro and Ryan Nealon. SymphonyOS offers AI-powered campaign creation, aggregated analytics, a website builder tool and features including Forever Saves, which allows fans to “subscribe” to an artist’s future releases.

1336 Records, a new label venture from System of a Down’s Shavo Odadjian, launched in partnership with Sumerian Music Group. The first release under the deal is “Paradise,” the debut single from Seven Hours After Violet — Odadjian’s new band also featuring Taylor Barber (Left To Suffer), Morgoth (Winds of Plague), Alejandro Aranda (Scarypoolparty) and Josh Johnson.

SURF Music — a platform that allows songwriters, producers and other creators to connect, collaborate, package, pitch and sell their original unreleased music to Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese labels and A&R professionals — has welcomed Universal Music Japan, Sony Japan, Avex and Fujipacific to the platform as official users. By joining SURF Music, the labels will have the ability to explore SURF’s marketplace of unreleased demos using AI-supported search tools.

VNYLab, a new music platform designed to bring independent artists closer to their fans, acquired Patron Empowerment, the developer of the similar Rhythmic Rebellion platform. The multi-million-dollar deal will accelerate the growth of VNYLab, which is set to officially debut this summer. VNYLab was founded by Jon Zeit, Wes Mason and Nikki Fernandez. Patron Empowerment founder/CEO Greg Allen has joined VNYLab as a partner.

Ford signed a 10-year naming rights agreement with Notes Live for a new music amphitheater coming to Colorado Springs, Colo. The 8,000-capacity venue, formerly known as The Sunset and now called Ford Amphitheater, is set to open on Aug. 9 with a performance by Ryan Tedder and his band OneRepublic.


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