Tencent Music Entertainment Group acquired an undisclosed minority stake in LA-based Wave and the two have inked a strategic partnership to catapult the interactive virtual entertainment company into China.
The agreement calls for TME, China’s leading online music platform, to air Wave experiences on all its platforms, including QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing, the companies announced Thursday.
The partners will develop virtual concert content for TME Live, a performance brand launched in March that integrates offline and online events. They will collaborate on content, promotion and distribution of interactive concert experiences to China’s music fans.
Five-year-old Wave specializes in using cutting-edge broadcast technology and real-time gaming graphics to transform artists into their own digital avatars, livestreamed for fans to enjoy and interact with virtually.
To date, Wave has hosted more than 50 events for pop stars, DJs and artists from The Weeknd and John Legend to Tinashe, Imogen Heap, REZZ, Galantis, Jean-Michel Jarre and Lindsey Stirling. Its concerts are distributed on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, Twitter and digital and leading gaming channels.
Wave was founded by music and tech veterans Adam Arrigo and Aaron Lemke who helped design and develop music and gaming apps Rock Band and Dance Central. Last summer, the company raised $30 million in a new funding round. Its investors include Justin Bieber, J. Balvin, The Weeknd, Scooter Braun, Top Dawg Entertainment and Maveron, Griffing Gaming.
TME Live attracts top artists and high-profile sponsorships from domestic and international brands. It offers VIP packages and virtual gifts to spur engagement. Parent Tencent Music’s platform comprises online music, online karaoke and music-centric live streaming services.
“The collaboration with Wave marks an important step forward in our efforts to integrate technology and music, aiming to amplify the immersive music experience for our users, enhance user engagement and promote content consumption,” said TC Pan, TME’s group vice president of Content Cooperation in a statement. He said the partnership will help build “a broader music ecosystem.”
Wave COO Jarred Kennedy called TME the ideal partner for Wave’s international expansion. “We share the belief that gaming technology will dramatically expand the breadth of possibility for creative expression and audience interaction in music, and we are thrilled to be collaborating with TME to build that future.”