The latest on the music business in China
Date 9 March 2009
I just got back last week from another trip to Beijing, my longest one yet as I had 3 projects to work on and a number of meetings…
I was working with artist Elika Mahony as usual, she has just released a new album on the theme of Love, ‘Birds of Love’ that we were consulting about the promotion for, and developing a limited edition version of. We were also recording new material for an upcoming new age style progressive pop album as well as her instrumental album.
I was also producing an ambient instrumental relaxation album for Green T. Living owner, Jin R, who is also a very talented artist and performer of the beautiful Yang Qin. We also recorded some other traditional Chinese instruments I had never worked with, such as the Gu Qin (an over 2000 year old traditional Chinese instrument).
I met with some local Chinese artists including Chinese pop music legend, Cheng Lin who wanted to discuss the changes in the music industry since she started in the 1980’s and how she could move forward based on these changes connecting her offline and online marketing efforts.
In order to better assist her and assess where things were going with music 2.0 in China, I met with Tze Ern Liew, founder of the music 2.0 group on LinkedIn, and translator of the The 20 Things You Must Know About Music Online in Chinese.
We talked about how due to bootlegging, China was ahead of the west in terms of digital delivery being the primary method people get their music, and word of mouth being a primary source of new music. We discussed how China has very different social networking sites musicians use rather than Facebook, Youtube and Myspace, often much more sophisticated than the English versions.
One of the most important things I wanted to learn on the trip is how to monetize music in a country with so many millions that are online, but do not use credit cards. The key was realizing that in Asia, by far the most popular way to communicate and get information is via mobile phone. That means the hub of the future of the music industry is the mobile phone, and in fact, artists using music 2.0 business techniques in China successfully are using cell phones to promote and earn income from music, since they are so prevalent there.
It all goes back to finding out what people want, how they like to do things, and what is convenient for them, and ultimately how to get their attention and keep it. China is a huge market, so understanding these things and experimenting with them to be able to assist artists is something very exciting to me.
I was invited to go to a live recording session with Ed Peto (hub of the Chinese music industry) as part of his new ‘free music, advertising funded’ music 2.0 Chinese record label, but I was to busy to do it this time. Next trip, most likely in the fall, I hope to meet with him and many others there in the business including some artists who are successfully using new music industry techniques to reach fans, and are monetizing their efforts using the mobile phone in China.