All That Matters returned to Ritz-Carlton hotel after a stint at the Marina Bay Sands complex last year in the lion city, Singapore. Held 9-13th September, the 5-day music festival and 3-day conference under the All That Matters brand held its 12th edition of Music Matters, Asia’s prime music conference, organised alongside conferences on gaming, online, marketing and sports. With 180 speakers across five content tracks and over 1,500 attendees, its music programmes featured live showcases which spread across venues around the city including CHIJMES, SWITCH, Canvas and Hard Rock Cafe.
While China continues to move towards more transparency in the music market, Tencent Music Entertainment Group hosted the China Music Forum and presented key data collected from the China market. Other prominent keynotes at Music Matters include Lyor Cohen – Global Head of Music of YouTube; Hartwig Masuch – CEO of BMG; Alex Zhu – Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Musical.ly, and Tom Windish – Senior Executive of Paradigm Talent Agency, among others.
The opening panel began with some of the largest industry moguls from the world of music, media, advertising and gaming focusing on the convergence of these industries, importance of content generated by its users, and the evolving digital scene in Asia. “What people care about [in one part of the world] will influence the rest of the world,” said Hosi Simon, Global General Manager of VICE Media. With plans to launch VICE Media in India, the company is set to provide a voice for one of the world’s largest population from the East. These will not only represent culturally significant stories of individuals and groups but also from a younger generation of the population.
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Simon also commented: “What is exciting about it all is that it is a youth media company….when young people cannot blame the government, media, and parents anymore…India’s 35 million population is turning 21 next year and there’s an explosion on how people are getting online. We’ve grown alongside this digital revolution for the past 25 years. Literally from ‘I can’t type on the phone’ to ‘watching videos'”.
Andy Ng, VP of Tencent Music Entertainment Group explained that just 5 years ago, piracy was still a hype where people were still downloading music illegally. Tencent began working with labels just about 3 years ago, to strategically fight piracy. “We were able to crack down a lot of the piracy market and gradually started to see rapid changes in the market…Teenagers are starting to realise how valuable music is through the positive trend in our user-paid services.”
“We still have lots to do. How do we convert our 700 million active users to paid users? We want to be able to make live broadcast where people could pay for that services. With the massive market we have in China, the 020 (online-to-offline) market will become a successful industry in China,” Ng added.
Alex Zhu, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Musical.ly focused on the importance of content and why Musical.ly is more than just an app. “The app has moved beyond music videos and dancing. We want to consider education and focus on building global connectivity within its young users from all over the world….It is us who have created the global activity. The source is the community. In that way, users are designing our identities.”
As for the Asian market: “We follow the same path as the U.S market. We do not spend any resources on bringing in any acts, but to build a scalable user base via marketing and localising content. In the land of Musical.ly, it’s all about the content. When we will have a critical mass of users, then we may bring emerging artists and break internationally,” added Alex Zhu.
Alex Zhu on expanding in China: “In China, it’s an expensive business because of its big-budget buying influencers…In order to grow organically, we made the decision to focus on the country outside of China. We saw the potential synergy between China and rest of the world….When we talk to creators in the U.S, everyone is fascinated about the China market. China has become a priority this year.”
Norman Halim, Chairman of IFPI Asia-Pacific discussed with Jasper Donat, CEO of Branded on the coexistence between mainstream and indie artists in Asia. Aside from getting to know one another, he stressed that “whilst there’s the IMDB platform for writers and film producers to connect, there isn’t a similar platform in the music industry….[the challenge is] that no one size fits all and all countries will have their own challenges. China is exciting and Japan is unique. It is the time that Southeast Asia take advantage of that and turn it into a real business…We must get as many indie labels to come on board to coexist and grow together with us.”
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The “Streaming in India” panel focused on how music is consumed and the growing users among the younger generation in India. “Music discovery has always been through films…at the back of the dancing and singing actors rather than an artist singing a song,” said Arjun Sankalia of Sony Music Entertainment India.
Sidd Roy, CEO of Hungama commented: “With over 55% of music discovered in the video format, YouTube seems to have overtaken with the movie taking a far more important role than the music itself…what gets listened in the north [of India] and south can vary and this creates opportunity for growth….Music is built to release the movie and production houses continue to push the music in films to build the popularity of the movie.”
The discussion also continued to stress that mobile users as of now are roughly about 70-80 million and with evermore growing users, agreed that mobile data will definitely decrease in price.