We’ll be at Digital & Music Matters next week – come find us! The full schedule is out now. Of particular interest is the YouTube FanFest powered by HP. Conceived of by Branded, also the agency that produces Digital & Music Matters, the event brings Youtube sensations to the conference audience. We’ll be interested to see what kind of insights they bring to the table. The participants include actor/comedian Ryan Higa and US band Boyce Avenue, who have toured from Manhattan to Manila solely on the strength of their social media following.
The live showcase schedule for this year’s Music Matters is out. This year, there are 60 bands from over 15 countries performing over three days at the conference in Singapore. In past years, China’s Maybe Mars has brought over various bands from their stable to play but a quick glance at this year’s confirmed lineup so far sees no bands from the Mainland this year.
Peep at the full list here.
This just in – Music Matters Asia expands to San Francisco this year with performances by leading indie rock outfits from around East Asia. A preview weekend event for CAAMFest (formerly the San Francisco International Asian-American Film Festival), the event teams up Music Matters with leading promoters Maybe Mars (China), DFSB Kollective (Korea) and The Wall (Taiwan) along with Singapore’s Viki.com to bring familiar acts such as Carsick Cars, The Gar and WHITE+ to play in San Francisco March 7-8.
Check out the poster for a full lineup and find out more about the event here. After a tour by Re-TROS and New Pants at the Creators Project San Francisco, the West Coast of the US is getting more and more popular with touring Chinese indie bands. Though your Radar correspondent is an unrepentant East Coaster, it’s great to see areas of North America outside of New York and Austin, TX (SXSW) on more tour itineraries.
The Radar will be at Music Matters ’09 here in Hong Kong for the next 2 days. We are lucky to have been asked to support the event as a media partner.
Representatives from the Hong Kong government are introducing the event, and have just quoted Frederik Nietzsche:
“Life without music would be a mistake”
Sweet. We concur!
When it comes to foreign artists playing in China, we have no shortage of big-budget stadium shows: Beyonce this past winter, Celine Dion in April, and last week’s Chivas/Red Cross Black Eyed Peas earthquake benefit (Planned as a Chivas party, the show had to be revamped as a fundraiser at the last minute in order to secure the proper event licensing. Whilst Chivas and the Peas are each said to have given substantial donations, lots of freebie tickets were given away to the media and government officials; how much the concert itself benefited earthquake victims is anyone’s guess.)
But there is a paucity of foreign performers who actually, you know, play musical instruments (Kenny G being a notable exception). Where are the Blonde Redheads and the White Rabbits? As Michael Chugg pointed out in a discussion of live music at Music Matters Asia, British and American indie acts like The Kooks, The Wombats and Cold War Kids are flying over Asia to play sold-out gigs in Australia and New Zealand. So why aren’t they stopping in our neck of the woods?
When it comes to finding things to do with your cell phone other than, well, making phone calls, Asia is well ahead of the pack. An analyst from wireless research company Portio recently estimated that the number of text messages sent in the Asia Pacific region annually will grow to 2,071 billion messages in 2012 (compared to 967.7 billion in 2006). Across the region, young people are viewing their mobile phones as more than communications devices. Accessorized with all manner of lucky charms and pendants, phones are vehicles for self expression. Increasingly, they’re fulfilling the role of mp3 player, too.
MTV’s Music Matters survey — a sample of 5,741 urban middle class participants aged 15-34 across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India — found that 50% of respondents had downloaded music to their phones in the previous month. In China, this number is 68%. 11% in China said that their mobile was their primary music player, and 76% would opt to replace their mp3 player with a mobile music phone altogether. “Downloading music” does not directly translate to “downloading full tracks for listening pleasure,” and may well include a hefty amount of ringback tones and simple ringtones. But it’s a start, and it’s an obvious delivery platform for the future.
One of the most interesting speakers we heard at the recently-wrapped Music Matters Asia conference was Ian Stewart, Senior VP of Viacom Brand Solutions and MTV Networks International. Ian presented the results of this year’s Music Matters survey, a barometer read of musical tastes and tendencies across Asia. You can view the full results here.
The survey polled a total of 5,741 urban middle class participants ages 15-34 in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Australia, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India. A whopping 93% of respondents described themselves as “passionate about music,” and 85% “like music,” compared to 67% in 2007. This rise may be due to increased exposure and ease of access: 66% say they listen to more music now that it’s digital.
What this demographic is listening to these days varies widely from country to country. 74% of Chinese respondents said they like Western music, compared to 95% in Malaysia and 62% in India. This may be inversely proportional to each country’s homegrown music industry. India churns out pop stars by the dozen, and China’s not too far behind, with more respondents than in any other country (98%) who like local music. In each country’s rankings of top five favourite artists, a handful of global superstars made the cut (Gwen Stefani, Linkin Park, Beyonce, Simple Plan and Robbie Williams). But for the most part, “local language drives preference.” Koreans like to listen to people singing/rapping in Korean. Likewise for the Philippines, Taiwan, etc…Southeast Asia tends more toward rock and indie, while North Asia (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea) prefers hip hop, R&B and ballads. China’s favourite singers are:
- Jay Chou
- Andy Lau
- Faye Wong
- Jacky Cheung
- Wang Lee-hom
After a full day of panels, podiums, and powerpoint presentations, it was refreshing to cap off day one of Music Matters Asia with a sampling of live performances from seven regional bands.
Compared to the mixed bag and a few stale potato chips throughout the day’s speaking panels, the industry showcase was much more consistent in its quality. The most impressive acts on offer came through the Nokia Independent Artists Club. Launched last year, IAC is Nokia’s version of a voter-driven, Idol-style competition. The programme traffics in downloadable tracks instead of televised performances, with country-specific sites for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
Interestingly, the three acts presented by IAC were head and shoulders above the rest of the pack: Point Blanc, a hip hop trio from Malaysia; Faspitch (pictured), a hardcore foursome from the Philippines; and Thailand’s Slur, a cross between early Strokes and the Cure. You can see some video of these three live performances here. The sound quality’s not great, but the video gives an idea of what the showcase had to offer.
Paul McGuinness continued:
In a change from his Midem speech, he says that ISP monitoring would not be an intrusion on our privacy. Apparently, emails and other internet usage would not be policed or “spied” upon. I don’t understand how we can ask the ISP’s to spy on people who download pirated music/movies/content, but expect the rest of our privacy to be respected. Where do we draw the line?
“To corporations – ISP’s, cable operators etc etc. who would argue that they are innocent bystanders…” U2 manager Paul McGuinness is bemoaning the fact that Manchester United will lose all their money from broadcasting rights because people will soon be able to watch the matches on the internet. Isn’t this just the natural flow of free markets? Labels/institutions/artists that are savvy and intelligent are benefiting from the new business model. Meanwhile, Paul seems to want other people to save his skin…