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News of the Week 1/4 Selected Music Business News

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Financing 

Square Plans to Acquire Tidal

Sources revealed on December 29th, 2020, that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s digital payment company Square had negotiated with streaming platform Tidal about a potential acquisition. This move is a part of Square’s diversification strategy.

Amazon Acquired Podcast Startup Wondery

On December 30th, 2020, Amazon announced its acquisition of the podcast startup Wondery, a move aimed to strengthen Amazon Music’s non-music content.

Rumors about talks between the two companies started earlier in December. The valuation is expected to be around US$300 million. Compared to other streaming giants like Spotify and Apple Music, Amazon joined the podcast battlefield relatively late.

 

Labels

Club No.9 About to Launch in Shanghai

On December 29th, 2020, sources revealed that NetEase Cloud Music’s electronic music label FEVER will soon launch a performance venue in Shanghai called club No.9. The club will be located on Shanghai Donghu Road. It will be equipped with a high quality sound system to accommodate for different performance needs.

Taihe Music Releases a New Urban Compilation Album Good Morning Nanjing

On January 1st, 2021, Taihe Music officially released a new compilation album, Good Morning Nanjing. This album was carefully produced by the famous singer Lao Lang (老狼), veteran musician Yang Haisong (杨海崧) and Zhao Yongqing (赵永庆). The songs were selected from hundreds of submissions and the process took almost 6 months. All the musicians whose songs were selected live in Nanjing.

Live Entertainment

School Cancels New Year’s Eve Event Due to the Pandemic

On December 28th, 2020, famous Beijing bar School officially announced the cancellation of all New Year’s Eve and New Year activities from December 28th to January 3rd. Users who have purchased tickets for these events can now apply for a refund. School will continue to open for business but will only serve customers who made reservations and limit reservations to 50 a day.

Jay Chou Performed at Mayday’s Concert as a Guest

On January 1st, 2021, Jay Chou made a surprise appearance at Mayday(五月天)’s concert and sang three songs.

Chengdu Musical Fun “New Year Music Season” Launched

To celebrate the New Year, Chengdu Musical Fun has recently launched a series of events including folk, classical and pop music performances. Chengdu Musical Fun aims to bring citizens in Chengdu a new performance everyday.

Musicians

Hebe Tian Responded to Copyright Infringement Accusations

In an interview on December 29th, 2020, Hebe Tian (田馥甄) responded to the news of her receiving a copyright infringement letter from her former label HIM International Music for singing her songs without copyright licensing from HIM. She said: “It’s just a normal thing. It’s normal to have ups and downs in life. I’m lucky to have friends around me to support me.” As for whether she will be able to sing those songs in the future, she commented, “there’s no change to my concert setlist.”

Wang Yibo’s New Song Broke the Record for Selling 10 Million Copies in the Shortest Amount of Time

On December 30th, 2020, Wang Yibo’s latest single “My World Code” sold over 10 million copies in 2 hours and 20 minutes, setting a new record for the shortest amount of time for a song to sell over 10 million copies on NetEase Cloud Music.

Chinese Rapper D.Ark Signs with PSY’s Label P Nation

On December 30, 2020, Chinese rapper Diak D.Ark signed a contract with P Nation. P Nation in early 2019 by Gangnam Style singer PSY. Currently, artists under P Nation’s management include Jessi, Hyuna, Dawn, etc.

 

Virtual DJ Purple Signed with Virtual Artist Label NO PROBLEM

On January 1, 2021, Modern Sky and virtual artist label NO PROBLEM signed with virtual DJ Purple. In the future, NO PROBLEM will continue to produce futuristic electronic music for DJ Purple. DJ Purple will also perform at the AKOMA CLUB in Shanghai soon.

Ayumi Hamasaki’s New Year’s Eve Concert Cancelled Due to Staff Member Contracting COVID

At 8 pm on December 24th, Elva Hsiao (萧亚轩) released a new digital album Naked Truth on QQ Music. The new album contains 10 songs and is priced at 25 yuan per copy.

Mayday Releases New Year Special Album

On December 29th, 2020, the official website of Japanese singer Ayumi Hamasaki made an announcement that due to a staff member contracting COVID-19, the New Year’s Eve concert originally scheduled on December 31st was cancelled.

Korean Girl Group Gugudan Disbanded

On December 30th, 2020, Jellyfish Entertainment announced that the girl group under its management, Gugudan, will cease all activities on December 31st.

Gugudan debuted in 2016. On October 25th, 2018, member Hyeyeon left the group. In 2020, member Sally participated in Chuang 2020 and debuted under the new group BonBon Girls 303.

 

TREASURE Will Release Its First Full Album in January

On January 3rd, 2021, YG Entertainment recently announced that boy group Treasure will release its first full album THE FIRST STEP: TREASURE EFFECT.

 

Daniel Barenboim Will be Conducting the 2022 Vienna Philharmonic New Year Concert

On December 30th, 2020, the official website of the Vienna Philharmonic announced that Isreali conductor Daniel Barenboim will be conducting the 2022 Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert. It would be the third time that Barenboim conducts the Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert after 2009 and 2014.

 

 

Copyright

VFineMusic and Houcaller Reached Licensing Agreement

On December 28th, 2020, the music distribution platform VFineMusic and the restaurant chain Houcaller reached an enterprise licensing agreement. VFine will process the copyright licenses for music played at Houcaller’s 40 restaurants all over the country.

Cover Song Singers Can Get 10% Royalty Income on Kugou Music From Now On

Kugou Music recently announced that starting from December 30th, 2020, the cover song singers will receive 10% of royalty income for their work and the songwriter will receive 35% of the royalties.

Dragon TV Accused of Copyright Infringement

During Dragon TV’s New Year’s Eve Gala on December 31th, 2020, Wallace Chung performed “Bird and Cicada” and Sunnee performed “Uninhabited Island.” The copyright holder Qianhe Century Culture Communication Co., Ltd claimed that Dragon TV broadcasted the cover versions of the songs without its authorization and requested Dragon TV to stop its copyright infringing activities. As of press, Dragon TV has not responded to the accusation.

Indian Record Company Tips Music Reached Global Licensing Agreement with Facebook

On December 28th, 2020, the India-based record company Tips Music signed a global licensing agreement with Facebook, allowing its music to be legally used on Facebook and Instagram.

Tips Music is part of the entertainment conglomerate Tips Industries. As one of the leading independent record labels in India, Tips Music has more than 25,000 songs and more than 35 million channel subscribers on YouTube. This new agreement will allow Facebook and Instagram users to add songs in Tips music’s catalogs to their posts.

Ximalaya FM and Xiaomi Reached Strategic Partnership

 

On December 29th, 2020, Ximalaya FM announced that it has reached a strategic partnership with Xiaomi. The two companies will work on content sharing and smart devices. Ximalaya FM will license a large amount of content for usage on Xiaomi devices. In the future, users can listen to Ximalaya FM content on Xiaomi smart speakers. The two companies will also launch a collab smart speaker called “Ximalaya X Redmi” smart speaker. The two companies also have plans to explore the podcast subscription market together. 

 

Streaming

NetEase Cloud Music Launched Podcast Event “Music Calls”

On December 28th, 2020, NetEase Cloud Music launched a podcast event “Music Calls. The first guest of this podcast event, Kenji Wu shared the story behind his song “Write a Poem for You”.

Bilibili and Avex Reached a Licensing Agreement

On December 28th, 2020, Bilibili announced a licensing agreement with the Japanese record label Avex. Avex’s music catalog and music videos will be available on Bilibili soon. Avex is one of the largest record labels in Japan with the copyright of top Japanese musicians such as Ayumi Hamasaki, Ai Otsuka, Anna Tsuchiya and Koda Miku.

QQ Music and Tencent Musicians Jointly Launched the “Bo Le Project” Songwriting Competition

On December 28th, 2020, the “Bo Le Project” songwriting competition jointly launched by QQ Music and Tencent Musicians started allowing submissions. The submission period will last from December 28th to March 15th and the final result will be announced on March 22nd.

TikTok Musical Ratatouille Sold over US$1 Million in Tickets

The online musical Ratatouille, produced by TikTok users, has now sold $1 million in tickets after its debut on January 1st. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Actor Foundation to support actors and other workers in the entertainment industry.

Kugou Music Annual Golden Viper Mixing Engineer Competition Starts

On December 31st, 2020, the 2020 Golden Viper Annual Mixing Engineer Competition started. Mixing engineers will submit sound effects for the users to vote for. The voting ends on January 18th.

 

Variety Shows

TME Launches New Music Chart Uni Wave CCTV’s New Year’s Eve Gala Ranked First In Ratings 

On the evening of December 31st, 2020, all major TV networks in China held their New Year’s Eve Galas at the same time. The ratings of CCTV New Year’s Eve Gala was 18.3779%.

Bilibili’s New Year’s Eve Gala Had a Peak Viewership of 250 Million

On December 31st, 2020, the “Most Beautiful Night 2020” Bilibili Gala jointly organized by Bilibili and CCTV aired and the number of people watching the Gala simultaneously reached 250 million at its peak. Bilibili COO Li Ni said that Bilibili is very glad that the Gala resonated with the younger generation.

 

Music Marketing

Game for Peace Held “The Coldest Concert in History”

On December 29th, 2020, the first Game for Peace ice and snow theme park landed on the side of Harbin Songhua River. Harbin Symphony Orchestra performed the Game for Peace theme song on the frozen Songhua River in the cold.

 

L’Oreal Celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Its Age Perfect Product Line with Live Music Performances

On December 28th, 2020, L’Oreal Paris invited Pianist Li Yundi, Chinese Pop Group Twins and Rock Band New Pants to perform at Tmall Super Brand Day as part of the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the L’Oreal Age Perfect Product Line.

Physical/Hardware

Sales of Vinyl and Cassette in the UK Surged in 2020

The latest data released by the British Phonographic Association shows that the sales of vinyl and cassette in the UK surged in 2020. In 2020, 4.8 million records were sold in the UK, which increased nearly 10% year-on-year.

Harry Styles’ Fine Line became the best-selling new vinyl record last year, with 22,368 copies sold; Kylie Minogue’s Disco, AC/DC’s Power Up, Idles’ Ultra Mono and Arctic Monkeys’ live recording album are among the best-selling records of the year.

 

The U.S. Market Saw the Highest Weekly Vinyl Sales Since 1991 During the Week Ending December 24th

During the week ending December 24th, 1.842 million vinyl records were sold in the United States, hitting the highest weekly sales number since 1991. In 2020, for the first time in 34 years, there were four weeks during which vinyl outsold CDs in the US.

Organizations

Chengdu Fanmate Cultural Industry Park Selected as One of the National Cultural Industry Demonstrative Areas

 

On December 30th, 2020, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China released another list of National Cultural Industry Demonstrative Areas. After careful consideration, the Ministry put Chengdu Fanmate Creative Area in the list.

Founded in 2016, Fanmate Creative Area has two parts, Fanmate Creative Area and Fanmate Flying Culturalland Creative Park and the area hosts companies in three main industries: music, design and TV&Film.

Policies

Beijing No Longer Allows New Large Commercial Live Events During New Year and Spring Festival

On December 27th, 2020, the city of Beijing held the 193rd press conference on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the press conference, the city government announced that it will withhold all new approvals for large commercial live events due to the new found cases. Performances that are already approved and scheduled will be allowed to continue with social distancing and other preventative measures in place. 

 

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