Mathew Daniel analyses the differences between streaming models in Western markets and in China, from the user-centric approaches to working with independent artists, direct licensing deals and international collaborations.
With China becoming the 10th largest recorded music market globally, Chinese music licensing pioneer Mathew Daniel, VP of International at NetEase Cloud Music, the country’s fastest growing music service, 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 his first ever keynote at Midem, he addresses delegates on the exciting developments taking place in the Chinese music market, as well as shares his vision on placing Chinese and inter-national independent artists and executives at the heart of streaming.
Mathew Daniel has been one of the pioneers in the development of the music licensing market in China for the past 14 years, having started the distribution company, R2G with his partners. After the acquisition of R2G by Tencent Music in 2016, he moved to NetEase Cloud Music (NCM) to head up their International Music division.
Mathew Daniel has long been a friend to the independent music community and in addition to launching the first legal independent music store in China 11 years ago, he has paved the way for many international artists to legally distribute their music in China, including then unknown artist Adele.
NetEase Cloud Music, which started only in 2013, has been the fastest growing music service in China adding 200 million users in the past 12 months to record 600 million registered users. With more than 50% of music listened to on NCM being non-Chinese music, this represents the largest share of consumption of international music amongst all music services in China.
As Technode describes it, “NetEase Cloud Music is considered the cool kid in the music streaming market with its smart music recommendation and partnership with indie musicians.”
NetEase Cloud Music is the fastest growing music service in China with 600 million registered users. With more than 50% of music listened to on NCM being non-Chinese music, this represents the largest share of consumption of international music amongst all music services in China.
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Here’s a selection of the most insightful quotes or anecdotes from his talk:
“In the West, you have Facebook and you have Spotify that standalone. On ours, it’s almost integrated, there is that social element. We have a thing called NetEase Fan connect for example R3hab: he decided to just focus on Asia, on China. He would go in and talk to his fans using English, using tools, translating and so on. He’s built up a huge following, he’s in China every other month or so. There are other artists like Don Diablo, some of them we work very closely with. Steve Aoki has also been doing a lot of stuff. I think the Dance artists have been very dynamic, they’ve been coming up with releases every week, whether it’s mixes, radio shows, podcasts… they have been very proactive and have used these tools and tried to introduce stuff to some of these Chinese audiences.”
“In collaborations, there are a lot of people who come to us. But it cannot be patronizing. It’s like putting a Chinese star in one of these blockbuster movies: they have a bullshit detector. It has to be right, the musicians have to work right. We have seen a few: last year we had KSHMR and Jason Zhang doing a song together, and that worked. Famously we have this collaboration with Far East Movement, who works very closely with our platform with a host of Chinese artists, which is going really well. But it’s organic and it’s built from the ground up. The Far East Movement guys are great, Kevin and the rest of them, they know exactly what to do.”
“On NetEase we have more than 70000 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 30-40000 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.”