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Outdustry’s Ed Peto confirmed for a panel at Great Escape in Brighton, UK, May 8th. Some big names on there…..and Ed.

CONVERSATION: TALENT SCOUTING IN EMERGING MARKETS

We talk a lot about exporting our music to emerging markets, but what about scouting those territories for exciting new music talent? A&R legend Seymour Stein has been doing just that – in China, India and beyond – and now he shares his experiences to date, while considering the challenges and opportunities for working with the music community in these regions with Great Escape co-founder Martin Elbourne and Outdustry’s Ed Peto. The Evening Standard’s David Smyth asks the questions.

6Project Blog, Events, Medium, Ed Peto,

BAM! We have just announced the first official China releases for The xx albums on CD.
xx (BCYT080CD)
Coexist (BCYT031CD)
On all good Chinese e-commerce sites as of April 20th. In several hundred physical stores around China in the weeks following that. 
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Canon PowerShot SX170 IS
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BAM! We have just announced the first official China releases for The xx albums on CD.

  • xx (BCYT080CD)
  • Coexist (BCYT031CD)

On all good Chinese e-commerce sites as of April 20th. In several hundred physical stores around China in the weeks following that. 

6Project Blog, Beggars China, Client Work, Medium, Label Services,

Outdustry’s Ed Peto pontificating at the excellent Electronic Music Conference in Sydney, December 2013.

6staff blog, medium,

China Music Business

We have just launched our own China music industry analysis site under the brilliant name of ‘China Music Business’. We aim to publish an article every month or so from a range of China music industry experts and insiders. This month sees a contribution from Outdustry boss, Ed Peto, covering the state of play in the Chinese digital music market. Please sign up, bookmark, RSS, follow, tweet etc.

China Music Business will also be our platform for general China market intelligence, reports, introductions, market visits. More info here.

6China Digital Music, Project Blog, Medium,

Beggars/4AD : Efterklang's Casper Clausen talks sampling China and horse-head fiddles with Ajinai's Hugjiltu f

Electronic Music Conference (Sydney, Australia)

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Outdustry’s Ed Peto will be dropping by the Electronic Music Conference (EMC) in Sydney next week to appear on an ‘Asia in Focus' panel. Will possibly be drinking some VBs while there as well. Feel free to get in touch if you're in town: ed.peto [at] outdustry {dot} com.

Program here. Tickets here.

6staff blog, events, Ed Peto, Medium,

China Digital Music Market Profile (Music Ally)

The following China digital music market profile - featuring a cameo from Outdustry’s Ed Peto - appeared in last week’s fortnightly Music Ally Report (highly recommended reading) and is republished here with permission.

New premium digital services bring hope in one of the world’s toughest music markets.

According to IFPI, recorded music sales in China totalled $92.4m (CNY 583.3m) in trade value in 2012 – a 35% increase from the $68.2m reported the year before, positioning the country at number 20 in the global rankings.

Digital saw a 49.8% increase to $75.5m, offsetting a 5.1% decline in physical sales to $16.9m and the market is split 82%/18% in favour of digital. Ads constitute the most significant revenue stream, accounting for 27% of overall recorded music sales, followed by mobile formats with 21%.

The fact that China still brings in under $100m in annual recorded music trade revenues remains a harsh reality, particularly given all the potential that has been attributed for years to the world’s most populated country, which grew its population to 1.35bn in 2012, and at the same time expanded its GDP by 7.8% to $8.26tr, as per CIA World Factbook data.

It is worth bearing in mind, however, that Chinese consumers’ annual expenditure on mobile music, dominated by ringback tones, is actually estimated at $2bn. The problem is that mobile operators are known for taking the vast majority of revenues, sharing only 2-4% of retail value with rightsholders. With over 730m subscribers, China Mobile is the leading operator in the country, followed by China Unicom (239m) and China Telecom (170m).

China is infamous for its rampant levels of piracy, which the IIPA estimates at 95% in the case of physical formats and 99% for digital ones. Indeed, one of the biggest problems for the local industry is that Chinese consumers widely expect music to be free or extremely cheap. This is particularly so in the online sector where companies such as Baidu and Tencent have grown to be the titans they are today thanks in no small part to the provision of deep-linked downloads to unlicensed MP3s.

It was welcome news when, last April, composer, producer and TV talent judge Gao Xiaosong said that, as of 1st July this year, “the Chinese online music market will step into an era of legal copies”. Yan Xiaohong, deputy director of the national Copyright Administration of China, described the launch of paid services as “inevitable”.

Details on how this will be approached are rather limited, but services including Baidu Music, Kugou and Duomi have been testing “VIP” tiers, focused on the provision of higher quality audio and increased mobility, with pricing expected to be set in the range of $1-3 per month. Of particular interest is the fact that companies seem to be exploring the possibility of adding a live element, such as bundling priority access to gigs and festivals.

The final proposition/pricing for the new services remains unclear – and so are the implications for the industry. Ed Peto, MD of Outdustry (a company which specialises in helping Western companies to enter the Chinese music market) told Music Ally, “Most services are fairly cautious about the take-up projections for these premium tiers as there is very little precedent for people paying for music in this way.”

Perhaps more importantly, Chinese online companies have a long history of periodically introducing features or cutting minor deals with a few rightsholders in order to claim legitimacy while still conducting the vast majority of their music business on a basis of unlicensed content. “Whether they will do the bare minimum to satisfy contracts with content providers or really put all their efforts into converting users into paying subscribers remains to be seen,” stressed Peto.

Also of note is the acquisition of streaming music service Xiami by e-commerce giant Alibaba, which will see the former integrated with the hugely-popular online shopping site Taobao. In a country where monetising recorded music remains as challenging as ever for rightsholders, it is interesting to see a different approach to bundling – somewhat echoing the apparent intention of the likes of Baidu for attaching a live element to their new premium services.

6China, China Digital Music, China Music Industry, Guest Post, Statistics, China Physical, China Mobile Market, Medium,

Spotify Asia Off To Promising Start

Two days after Spotify announced it’s first launches in Asia - via Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore - and it looks like they are off to a good start, making strong entries in the various iTunes Free App stores:

Hong Kong iTunes, April 18th:

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Singapore iTunes, April 18th:

Malaysia iTunes, April 18th:

It is interesting to note the absence of an “Unlimited” tier, leaving only free and Premium (unlimited access with full cross-device functionality) - a strategy that makes sense in emerging markets where “mobile-first” is that much more important.

Premium prices come in as:

Hong Kong : HK$ 48 ~ $6.18 USD

Malaysia : MYR 14.9 ~ $4.92 USD

Singapore : SG$ 9.9 ~ $8.01 USD

These markets have been carefully picked as “the perfect stepping stones” into Asia according to Spotify’s Asia Head Sriram Krishnan, speaking to The Next Web, highlighting the heathy local indie scenes and advanced social media behaviour, particularly with regards to crucial Spotify social partner Facebook.

Strategically speaking Hong Kong and Singapore are seen as the go-to locations for headquartering international corporations coming in to the region. Combined with their small but relatively well developed music industries, these two territories (plus the also fairly small Malaysia) represent obvious launch markets for Spotify to get a feel of the region. There is no question that Spotify will need to approach Asia differently to elsewhere in the world so this move makes sense as a cautious entry. One that, so far it seems, is being received well.

6Asia, Spotify, Asia Music Industry, Asia Digital Music, Medium,

Intrigue In The Chinese Digital Music Industry : What Exactly Is Happening on July 1st?

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Image credit: Sohu

Something is afoot in the Chinese digital music space. At the end of last year we saw a number of major music services including QQ Music, Baidu Music, Kugou and Duomi - having apparently reached a private agreement - publicly announce [UPDATE 9th June 2013: They did not make a public announcement] start moving towards charging for their music services in the very near future (a Dec 31st 2012 deadline was mentioned but evidently not adhered to).

Fast forward to March 19th and an announcement from famous music composer, producer and TV talent judge, Gao Xiaosong, that July 1st was now the big date for the change and that “various record labels, music websites and the government are all doing the tail-end of the work. The Chinese online music market will step into an era of legal copies.”

The SPs initially took a “this is news to us” (Chinese article) approach, which then developed slowly into some kind of recognition of the situation. The assumption is that, as the new boss of a well funded music label, Gao Xiaosong tried to force the hands of the SPs by announcing early and putting pressure on people to actually deliver. He is also not shy of publicity either, it is worth noting.

Since then, rumours have been flying around the Chinese internet. Long time observers of the Chinese digital music landscape will be a little wary of any silver bullet solutions and supposed “deadlines”, having seen countless such announcements before, but there seems to be more convergence at play this time round. July 1st may not be the world changing event some have suggested, but broadly implemented paid-for music services now seem to be an inevitability in China.

With that in mind, we will be keeping a close eye on this story. As a primer for new-comers to the situation we have translated this recent round-up article from China Economic Weekly (via Sohu) for your reading pleasure:

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6China, China Digital Music, China Music Industry, Medium, Translation, News Link,

Fresh off the press: The first official #China CD releases of #Adele 19 & 21 albums. Patience is a virtue! #BeggarsChina @officialadele @xlrecordings @swilso26 #od #t #f http://bit.ly/ZbbssQ

6Outdustry Instagram, Staff Blog, Medium,

Social Media Panel At Bookworm Literary Festival

L to R: Ed Peto (Outdustry), Hu Yong (ChinaFile), Duncan Hewitt (BBC/Newsweek). Photo Courtesy of the Bookworm Literary Festival

Last week I was asked to moderate a panel at the Bookworm Literary Festival here in Beijing. The panel was called “Future Perfect : Social Media” and was described thusly by the organisers:

"Due to governmental and technological restraints, social media is different in China - in both form and function - than in other countries. Join us as Duncan Hewitt (Get Rich First) and Hu Yong, the MediaFile Editor at the newly launched ChinaFile and Professor of Media Studies at Peking University discusses the possible social, economic and political implications of social media in China; the way the government is both using and regulating social media and what the future for this powerful media is.”

Due to the sensitive nature of the subject material we opted for an “off the record” approach - i.e. the speakers are not to be quoted - which led to a fascinating, free-ranging chat from two bona fide China social media experts. To get the ball rolling, though, I offered up the following introduction to the subject:

"It has been said that there two internets on the planet: The internet, and the Chinese internet. Of the 2.4 billion internet users in the world, currently around 24% (570 million) of these reside within China, inside one of the most tightly controlled internet environments in the world.

Social media is perhaps the defining technological advance of our age, allowing the individual to publish globally at the touch of a button, completely revolutionising media, personal expression and, as a result, society itself in the process. 

When it comes to China, however, from a western viewpoint the Chinese internet is often characterised by what it lacks: Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, true freedom of speech. From this outside perspective censorship is the defining element of the Chinese internet experience.

What of the inside perspective though? Perhaps surprisingly, China has the most active social media population in the world, with a 2012 McKinsey study showing 91% of Chinese internet users visiting a social media site in the last 6 months, vs 70% in super connected South Korea, 67% in US and, astonishingly, only 30% in Japan.

Should this really surprise us? It is a question of degree. Coming from a recent history of tightly controlled media, the Chinese internet user has that much more to gain from social media vs their western contemporaries and are therefore expressing themselves with a fervour not seen elsewhere in the developed world.

Social media has catalysed revolutions and been the scourge of political misdoings across the globe. This sense of threat is writ large through the Chinese governments handling of what is perhaps the greatest ever challenge to it’s control. It knows it must engage with social media, but how has it managed to allow social media’s development, provide enough functionality to satisfy the people and yet still “keep a lid on it”? Or is the lid slowly, inexorably coming off?

Today we will try to cover some of these complexities.”

Many thanks to Hu Yong and Duncan for taking this subject and really running with it and many thanks as well to all at The Bookworm Literary Festival for another great event.

6China, China Social Media, Medium, Staff Blog, Ed Peto,

Majors Settle With Sogou MP3 Search

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As search engine for Chinese mega portal Sohu, Sogou presents a familiar sight for Chinese internet music searchers: Instant, well ordered lists of direct “deep links” to MP3 search results, purportedly hosted on third party sites, available for free download.

Rights owners have typically been excluded from any revenue from ads sold around these search results, meaning that MP3 search represents the single greatest villain in the Chinese internet music space.

As populariser of this format - and with roughly 80% of the Chinese search market - Baidu.com played the role of public enemy number one until it’s 2011 deal with the majors saw the (then) big four’s catalogues made available legally through Baidu’s Ting streaming service (now rolled into “Baidu Music”). The deal also saw the majors drop any existing actions against the search giant.

Yesterday saw a similar - if not much smaller - result coming out of Beijing’s High People’s Court

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6China Music Industry, China Digital Music, Staff Blog, Ed Peto, Medium, China,

Production Project : Hedgehog - Blue Daydreaming (Album)

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Artist: Hedgehog (刺猬)

Release Title: Blue Daydreaming (Album)

Release Date: 2009.03.28

Release Label: Modern Sky

Outdustry Client: Sterling Sound

Engineer: Tom Coyne (Mastering)

Project Client: Modern Sky

6Sterling Sound, Client Work, Production Services, Hedgehog, Modern Sky, Tom Coyne, Mastering, Medium,

CNN Cover Beijing’s Rock Scene

Olympic Security Hangover : Midi Update

Midi School have just announced (Chinese link) that they will be delaying the festival by another ten days or so. Dates are yet to be confirmed. The official reason is that the government expects millions of Chinese tourists to descend on Beijing during the upcoming October holidays to look around the Olympic facilities, including the Olympic Centre planned for use by Midi.

Midi claim that they would be free to go ahead but that the venue would have to remain open to joe public, obligating Midi to pay 700,000RMB a day for the mandatory use of strict Olympic security barriers. Obviously a crippling financial burden.

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6Staff Blog, China Music Scene, China, China Live Music, Ed Peto, China Festivals, Medium,

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