The partnership will see support for Tencent’s QQ Music service built into Sonos’ HiFis and audio products, allowing users to stream tracks from the service wirelessly, in a similar fashion to Apple’s AirPlay and other products.
The set-up doesn’t require a computer and music is streamed directly from the Web. A smartphone or tablet can be used as a remote to control the system, but neither are essential for it to operate.
The deal, terms of which were not announced, has significance for both firms. For Sonos, a partnership with Tencent — whose flagship messaging service has 721 million users — will raise its profile significantly and differentiate it from the (often cheaper) competition, appealing in particular to QQ Music’s 200 million plus members.
The deal gives Tencent a chance to broaden the appeal of its music service from simply Internet-users, as it looks to move into home entertainment. Just 6 million QQ Music users are signed up to unlimited, ad-free service — which starts at $1.59 (10 Yuan) — and deals such as that with Sonos will increase the appeal of the premium service.
“Our partnership with QQ Music allows us to provide Chinese music-lovers a magical music listening experience, said John MacFarlane, CEO of Sonos. “They will have instant access to all the music they want, in any room of their home, with great sound. This is the modern way of listening to music: out loud.”
Countries like Thailand, which has a comparable per capita GDP, have seen greater success with digital content sales, according to the report, which gives signs that China’s situation could be improved.
A consumer preview is available on all Sonos wireless HiFi systems in China, the firm says that the full integration with QQ Music will be ready later this year.