(Yicai Global) April 2 -- NetEase Inc. has removed songs by acclaimed Taiwanese artist Jay Chou from its music streaming platform after a dispute with rival and partner Tencent Holdings Ltd., just weeks after the pair penned a reconciliatory agreement to put aside their differences.
NetEase has had to remove songs produced by JVR Music Co., which include those by Chou and other artists, at the production company’s request, the tech firm said in a statement yesterday.
“NetEase had a license to stream JVR songs which was valid till March 31,” a NetEase representative told Yicai Global. “We made our best efforts to renew our license but failed, so had to take down any of the songs covered by it.”
According to JVR, Tencent Music Entertainment Co. suspended its music-sharing agreement with NetEase after JVR found the NetEase had violated copyright licensing, TME, the copyright agent for Chou’s songs, told Yicai Global. The two tech giants had agreed in February to share more than 99 percent of their music libraries as the National Copyright Administration of China sought to level the playing field in the industry.
NetEase starting selling around 200 of Chou’s songs on March 30, allowing users to purchase them so they can continue listing after the songs were removed. The company kept selling the songs after its license expired, which TME said constitutes copyright infringement. NetEase has made more than 100,000 sales of the songs, earning it at least CNY200,000 (USD31,776), but has since said it would refund those who bought the tunes after March 31 and withdraw their rights to listen to them through the app.
“NetEase conducted many irregular practices during the time it held a JVR license,” TME said. “And these practices continued after the NCA stepped in. As far as JVR is concerned, TME suspended its partnership with NetEase when its license expired.”