Tencent Music Takes a Stake In Wave — Get Ready for Avatar Concerts In China

Tencent Music IPO Launches at Lowest Expected Price Range
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Tencent Music has made a “minority equity investment” in LA-based virtual-concert startup Wave.

Tencent Music and Wave unveiled the investment and strategic partnership this afternoon, in a general release. Big-name backers including Scooter Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and Twitch cofounder Alex Lin participated in a $30 million Wave funding round over the summer. And upon announcing the multimillion-dollar investment, Wave indicated that it intended to expand into Asia (and particularly China and Japan) moving forward.

Now, having organized over 50 virtual events – complete with animated stages, artist and crowd avatars, effects, and more – Wave is set to deliver its unique live-music experiences to the over 51.7 million listeners across Tencent Music’s streaming apps (QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music, and WeSing). Additionally, the companies will craft “virtual concert content for TME Live” livestream performances, which Tencent Music said in August had garnered north of 100 million views.

Lastly, in terms of the Tencent Music and Wave deal’s nuances, the entities expect to “develop innovative promotional approaches, build high-quality music content, and bring interactive, unique and emerging concert experience[s] to China’s music lovers.” TME Live, the release notes, has already cashed in on its strong viewership figures by scoring sponsorship deals with “high-profile domestic and international brands” and selling digital content centering on fan-artist interactions.

Predictably, given COVID’s unprecedented impact upon the crowd-based entertainment space, multiple livestream startups have attracted well-known investors to this point in 2020. Besides fronting some of the cash for Wave, Braun invested in Moment House, a ticketed-livestreaming platform, and Jay-Z’s TIDAL in August dropped $7 million on Sensorium VR “tokens.”

Tencent Music, for its part, has continued to build up an already-substantial collection of paying subscribers despite the pandemic. Though many industry observers doubted the Chinese market’s revenue potential in the not-so-distant past, Q3 brought the company’s biggest quarterly surge in paid users since 2016. The 46 percent year-over-year boost contributed to a revenue hike and a net profit of some $170 million.

Separately, recent months have seen Tencent Music finalize major licensing deals with Peermusic, Kobalt Music Group, Thailand’s largest media conglomerate and music company, GMM Grammy, and Japanese animation film studio CoMix Wave Films (CWF). And back in June, following Warner Music’s much-anticipated return to the stock market, Tencent Music acquired 5.2 percent of all Class A shares in a more than $100 million deal.

On the day, Tencent Music stock (TME) gained 1.55 percent, for a per-share price of $16.40. At the time of publishing, after-hours trades had brought a small (.49 percent) additional increase.