Hans Ebert, HK based music industry stalwart and, let’s face it, the very definition of music industry cynicism, this morning produced a hypothetical conversation between a Chinese promoter and a Western artist. This is part of a longer article entitled “Swimming upstream and the Chinese music market“.
Our (possibly oversimplified) viewpoint is that Mr. Ebert views China’s music market (and most of the rest of the world’s music industry) with the jaded eye of the older school of industry executives, but he raises some interesting points on his blog and this is perhaps the best passage that we have read to date.
For the record, we have significantly more faith in the ability of the music industry to reinvent itself for a new generation, although we do realize that the old paradigm is long gone, and that whatever model emerges with be substantially smaller in monetary terms that what went before, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. So without further ado:
What can you do for my artist?
Well, we can do all the marketing, the distribution, concerts, online marketing, sponsorship…
Great! How much can we hope to make?
Well, China is a huge market and there are more internet and mobile phone users here than anywhere…
Yes, so how does this work from a financial point of view?
Well, the key is promotion and we work with all the biggest media partners- China Mobile, Tencent, Baidu…
How much do they charge per download?
Well, this is all promotion, so first we start with streaming so consumers can get to know your new act…
We know China because we live here and we know all the key players. We use our superstar acts and give these to the media partners so they can in turn then promote the new artists- like your new artist.
Okay, but how long does this promotional period last? Do you do anything else?
Well, sponsorship, we know all the big sponsors.
Would they, however, want my artist? Do you have special sponsorship marketing people?
We have a big staff and offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangxhou and Hunan…
Okay, but how do you present a new artist to sponsors?
We know all the main media and we get all the new artists interviewed with the radio stations, MTV, Channel [V]…
So, where is the money? Concerts?
Yes, concerts are very big. Last week one of our artists sold out 40 concerts in 4 minutes.
Yes, this is now our focus- concerts- and also getting our artists to make movies!
But what about my artist? She’s still learning Mandarin. Can she tour any campuses?
What is camp?
No, campuses- you know, high-schools, universities..
Oh, yah, many internet users go to university and we will market to them…this is very good promotion.
Will you pay to bring my artist over to tour?
Er, we will look for a sponsor and make this a big promotional tour.
How much will they pay the artist?
No, no, this is promotion, so the sponsor will pay for all the flights and accommodation.
And what will be your commitment?
Promotion, marketing, we will promote your artist to the media…