Song Ke, one of China’s most prominent music industry veterans. Ex Warner China and more recently as head of Taihe Rye Music, he is in a pretty good place to judge the state of the local market. After resigning as GM of Taihe, he took the time to pen an opinion piece in Lifeweek, as pointed out by Beijing Daze. As they haven’t followed through with their promise to translate 🙂 we’ve done it for them and synopsized his thoughts. It’s the pretty standard gripes of music industry executives worldwide, wich some localized slants.
He thinks the most essential thing for the record industry is to build a reasonable system. He draws the conclusion that If music content providers can not get at least 40% of the profits from the commercial distribution system, they can’t continue to afford to play the game. Music is not like film (which contains more ideology and content). That’s the main reason why Chinese people overlook music: government has no interest in fostering a music industry.
Not only is the ratio of profits killing the music industry, but also new technologies. The Internet is accelerating the death of music industry. The progress in the film industry has been from black and white to 3D IMAX, while music platforms are moving backwards from CD to MP3. He thinks iTunes is average, encouraging the tolerance of a lowering of standards. When people cannot see the lyrics and artworks of an album, they lose the interest to pay for it. In addition, there are no strong standards to control the spread and illegal copy of music, which makes it look cheap and worthless.
He also mentioned the deal between China mobile and content providers. Even though the music industry does make considerable money by selling ringtones, China mobile gets the lions share of revenues rather than the content owners. As for media, both promotional strength and artistic aesthetic are degenerating as well. The root of the problem remains unresolved: people who create the content don’t know how much they are really worth. The record industry should blame no one but themselves for those problems, they deserve to lose.