The Deals: K-Pop Giant Kakao Signs Licensing Pact With NetEase; Lil Durk Teams With AWAL for Label

NetEase Cloud Music struck a licensing agreement with South Korean music company Kakao Entertainment that will allow NetEase to distribute Kakao’s catalog in China. Both companies will work together to jointly promote Korean music in the Chinese market. Kakao artists include Jay Park, Chungha, FTISLAND and CNBLUE. According to a press release, Kakao had 2016 million monthly active users and more than 44 million paying subscribers in 2023.

Rapper Lil Durk partnered with AWAL to re-launch his label venture, OTF. Under the deal, OTF will identify and develop artists with the help of AWAL’s global infrastructure and artist development expertise. Durk will act as CEO while OTF’s COO, Cedrick “SB” Earsery, will work alongside AWAL CEO Lonny Olinick, president Pete Giberg and senior vp/head of urban music Norva Denton to foster the OTF roster. The first release under the deal, “GTA” by DJ Bandz featuring Rob 49, Skilla Baby and Fivio Foreign, is dropping Friday (May 17).


Music Venue Trust announced the second acquisition by its own Music Venue Properties via the U.K. charity’s Own Our Venues scheme: The Ferret in Preston, a 200-capacity venue that has hosted artists including Ed Sheeran, IDLES, Alt-J and Royal Blood. With the purchase, the venue will be placed in permanent protected status via a “cultural lease” — an agreement designed by Music Venue Properties to guarantee that, as long as The Ferret operates as a space for grassroots live music for the local community, they can use the building. Own Our Venues has raised nearly 2.6 million pounds to date from more than 1,200 individual investors. In October 2023, Music Venue Properties made its first purchase when it acquired The Snug in Atherton, Greater Manchester. An additional seven venues across the country have been identified for purchase in this initial phase.


AI solutions company Veritone signed a deal to power theCAAvault, a synthetic media vault created by Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to store the intellectual property of CAA clients, including AI clones and voice recordings. The hope is to ensure the proper compensation of CAA talent for any use of their name, image and likeness.

ASM Global invested in Boston-based EDGE Sports Group, marking a significant move by the company to become a market leader in providing advisory, development and venue management services to clients and partners in the domestic youth sports and sports tourism industry. Following the close of the transaction, EDGE will operate under the moniker EDGE Sports Global. EDGE brings a portfolio of more than a dozen sports venues in the New England region and is expanding with development projects in Florida, Arizona and more; it also owns or manages youth sports clubs, academies and camps totaling more than 350 teams and 8,000 athletes. EDGE Sports Group founder/president Brian DeVellis will continue serving as president of EDGE Sports Global.


Music licensing hub Broma16 signed an international agreement with YouTube and partnerships with three collecting societies from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region. The YouTube deal will see Broma16 collecting music royalties from the platform in territories including Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the CIS and distributing them to its members. The company’s new collecting society partners are ANCO (Moldavia), SIIP (Uzbekistan) and KAZAK (Kazakhstan). SIIP and ANCO will use Broma16’s online licensing services to collect royalties for their songwriter and publisher members. KAZAK has granted Broma16 the right to collect royalties from YouTube.

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