Midem Music Pulse – Keys to Understand Asian Music Markets

Asia is today’s second-largest region for physical and digital formats combined, with skyrocketing levels of growth, digital players shaking the way business is done and local genres such as K-Pop putting the spotlight on the region’s rich creative music scenes with global audiences. Here is how, from India to China, Japan and South Korea, each Asian music markets remains fiercely unique, with their own business models, distinctive drivers of growth and specific opportunities for local and international artists and music companies.

Midem Music Pulse helps you understand the main challenges and key trends shaping the future of the international music business via exclusive content from the Midem conference programme.

Every month, Midem conference team offers you a curated eye on Midem conference programme, to discover insightful business tips, key facts and global strategies on vibrant topics of the music industry.

Discover 5 key elements to understand Asia’s differentiated local markets!

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1. Digital penetration is driving growth from one Asian music market to the next

“What’s happening in India shows us the versatility of streaming. Unlike what we’re seeing elsewhere in the world, where streaming is basically displacing other forms of music consumption to a great extent, in Asia, we’re seeing it be used in many different ways. In Japan it’s used to complement the physical purchase that is peoples’ main desire for how they access music. In Korea, it is providing for another way for people to engage with artists, another way to show their adoration for a particular artist or band that they like. In China, it has fueled licensed consumption; it has completely revitalized and revolutionized the license market. And in India, we’re seeing music being one of the first destinations, one of the first places where people go to as soon as they are able to access content through streaming services.” David Price, Director of Insight and Analysis, IFPI (UK)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “The Landscape & Future of Recorded Music in Major Asian Music Markets” presentation. IFPI’s Director of Insight and Analysis discusses patterns of music consumption in the largest Asian music markets, looking at the foundations for growth in China, the continuing popularity of ownership in Japan, and the success that K-pop has spread across the world.

2. Music monetisation sources depend on local culture and Bollywood is still big

“As a creative person, I hate [Bollywood], as a manager, I love it because I make a lot of money out of that and most of our artists make their entire earning out of that business. As an artist, say for example you are a composer and I’m representing you, me and you both dream everyday of becoming big by releasing non-film content and not depending on Bollywood but in India we are people who adjust, kind of find a balance and go with the flow, trying our thing out, so we are doing both things. So there are a lot of artists who we manage that are more dependent on the non-film part, but as of now it’s mainly Bollywood, but there are a lot of things happening in the non-film sector as well.”Chaitanya Kataria, Manager, DIVINE (India)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “Why is Bollywood Music India’s Mainstream Pop? – Midem 2019” conference. While today’s music scene in India includes diverse musical influences – often from beyond the subcontinent, Bollywood music continues to dominate preferences. This panel, consisting of one of the most successful Indian agents who represents several popular Bollywood artists, and one of the country’s leading entertainment lawyers, moderated by an emerging marketing expert that has taken its first footsteps into India, provides an insight into what makes Bollywood music synonymous with “pop” or “popular” music, particularly against the backdrop of the transforming music landscape of India.

3. K-pop is global but its songwriting structure remains unique

“Speaking with some international writers about how to write for the Korean market, it’s quite unique, it’s quite different on a structural level it’s much more complex than other songwriting. It’s not just bridge, chorus, the Koreans basically get bored easily, so if you listen to K-pop, you will get the feeling that it’s very packed but it’s really well done, production-wise it’s really good. If you listen to a full album, you will get the sense that they can put all the music genres in one: there’s a rock ballad, a pop song, there’s hip hop, there’s trap. They can insert everything within one song and within a full album. It’s not the usual, easy-to-pitch song that you can work with so you need to understand the market, respect it and work for that specific market and for those specific projects, without copying the references that are given to you. It’s quite complex to write for those territories.”Rodrigo Dominguez, Iberian Creative & Sync Manager & General Manager Portugal, peermusic (Portugal)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “Songwriting for K-Pop” conference. From BTS to BLACKPINK, Korean superstars taking over the global music charts. K-pop is on everyone’s mind and the demand for K-pop sounds is at an all-time high across the world. With its long-lasting presence in Asia and the recent acquisition of Korean publisher Music Cube, the independent powerhouse peermusic has been at the forefront of this evolution. This conversation dives into peermusic’s song-writing process to understand the opportunities for K-pop in today’s global recording industry.

4. Japan’s digital market is growing but the ownership model is still driving the industry

There’s a big dynamic shift that’s going on, that’s the digital transformation. We’re seeing the rise of subscription and streaming model, with a year-on-year growth of over 30% in streaming revenue for the recorded business. Going forward, we will soon reach 10 million paid subscribers […]. The second element is that there is still a strong ownership model, meaning the physical CD, DVD and Blu-Ray market is very solid and strong. The reason is that record companies are very good at adding value to the physical product and that’s the historical strength of the Japanese media companies. so you should almost look separately at those two markets: one is the ownership that is physical-based product and then the digital market that is now led by the streaming business.”Kazuhiro Shimada, Corporate Executive, Head of Commercial Affairs, Universal Music Group (Japan)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 “Doing Business in Japan” conference. At a time when digital is growing globally and Japan remains a mainly physical market, this discussion highlights the essential trends shaking the Japanese music business, as well how international players can bring their catalogue and do business in Japan.

5. Digital players have been essential in helping it recover from the piracy era

“On NetEase we have more than 70,000 independent Chinese artists signed directly to us, some are close to the GarageBand variety but then there are others that have gone on to perform to 30-40,000 people in stadiums. At the beginning, maybe they didn’t get label deals. There isn’t so much of a mature label environment in China. About 10 years ago, because of the piracy and so on, labels were giving up, musicians were even giving up on music and moving to other professions. So over time, there were great musicians doing great music but nowhere to go and we had a platform and musicians came and we grew and we gave them a platform for promotion, then in due course we started sharing the revenue with them.”- Mathew Daniel, VP of International, NetEase Cloud Music (China)

This quote is excerpted from Midem 2019 keynote of Mathew Daniel, VP of International at NetEase Cloud Music. With China becoming the 10th largest recorded music market globally, Chinese music licensing pioneer Mathew Daniel, has launched the first legal independent music store in China 10 years ago, and paved the way for many international artists to legally distribute their music in China. During this conversation, he addresses delegates on the exciting developments taking place in the Chinese market, and shares his vision on placing Chinese and international independent artists and executives at the heart of streaming.


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