“What kind of person I am? I’m a freak. I’m crazy. I do crazy things and go to the places where no one goes.” Zheng Jun laughed and told us after looking down and thinking for a while.
Zheng had cut his long hair. He only wore a simple black T-shirt with his usual leather jacket. Saying in a mild tone, he seemed far away from the image of a rock singer. When talked about his new project, Zheng was full of confidence, from which we could see the shadow of the stubborn young man fighting against the world with his guitar years before. Now, Zheng Jun’s eyes are more tolerant and his smile is milder.
When we met Zheng, he had accepted several interviews from the media. But he didn’t show any tiredness on his face and laughed to assure us, “It’s quite normal to repeat one’s words while being interviewed. You can ask me anything. Such interview pace is better than promotions before which were so terrible. Also, the questions were awkward. ”
Zheng Jun’s new singleYou Must be Happylaunched before the New Year of 2016. It is the song that took the longest time for Zheng to finish. From this song, we see a softer Zheng. Though rock is still the strong case for him to fight against the world, what behind rock is a warm and hot heart.
Taking on multiple roles such as husband, father, and mentor, Zheng has a sense of feeling towards life that he never has before. “Every day, I have to sit in meditation and do yoga. From a rational perspective, I’m half crazy.” Time did not take away his persistence, but left him with free and open-minded.
Zheng has been walking on the road of music for more than 20 years. He has his own understanding towards Chinese music industry, “Traditional label mode is like a sinking ship. Many has noticed where the problems are, but they don’t think about the solution. But what I will do is to re-create a music mode to make it better.”
In Zheng’s opinion, music is the food for mind. From the market perspective, the music industry has never declined, and people’s demand for music has never declined. On the contrary, what truly declines is the business mode of music industry. Now, Internet concepts break traditional music mode. It brings creators the largest profits, making them the master. And platform is only a server. This has overturned traditional mode of labels, which helps the industry to enter virtuous circle.
Five years ago, Zheng started to think about the way to reactivating the industry. However, at that time, there was no strict policy to protect copyrights. And no one understood what he wanted to do. When Zheng told others his idea, they asked whether American had this mode. If they had, they would copy it, or they wouldn’t do it.
It was not until 015 that the government issued new policy towards music copyright and capital has showed greater interest towards culture industry. With favorable climatic, geographical and human conditions, Zheng launched song-writing software Heyinliang. Heyiniang is defined as a service platform. It is the agent of creators and the copyright belong to creators. When a song earns profit, it will be distributed according to registered information. The specific interest ratio is: composing 30%, lyrics 30%, arranger 30%, singer10%. This mode also achieves the possibility of collective music creation. Two or three months after Heyinliang has launched, Zheng realized that various companies has secretly signed with creators on the platform. This also forced Zheng to change the digital agreement that he has signed with creators before into a written contract. But from another perspective, it also proved the market acceptance of Heyinliang. “On the first press conference of this project, many people doubted it. However, not long ago, people started to copy this mode.”
Up to now, Heyinliang has accumulated over 70,000 users. Actually, this figure is not too large. But Heyinliang’s business mode not only relies on traffic and user number. Its meaning lies in producing work and artists that are recognized by the industry and market. “My purpose of starting the business is not for money. I hope to use real statistics to prove the feasibility of Heyinliang’s business mode. If it works, I will walk forward. If not, I will give up. However, I won’t spend my first sum of money on traffic, then on financing and expanding.” Zheng Jun told CMBN.
CMBN: Heyinliang is your entrepreneurship program. Why do you join Taihe Music?
Zheng Jun: My original idea is maintain A round financing based on the entrepreneurship program. Then, there are B round, C round and coming into the market in the future. It is a long progress. Qian (Qian Shimu, CEO of Taihe Music Groip) is my good friend for over 20 years. He has said before, you must join my camp. I want you. After the talking, I also considered a lot. For me, Heyinliang is not merely a simple entrepreneurship program. It’s my dream. If it comes true, it will be my greatest happiness.
Additionally, Taihe has just merged Baidu Music, and he merged me with the trend. Taihe is now the only one that has traditional label recourses and Internet advantage. After Heyinliang joined, they can combine advantages from both sides. Of course, Qian and I admire each other. So I decided to join Taihe.
CMBN: Why did you decide to start Heyinliang? At present, what are people like on Heyinliang platform? In the past half a year, what did Heyinliang do?
Zheng Jun: If I continue to be a singer, I only live in my own world though I live well. But I want to start Heyinliang to provide a platform for talented young people who suffer a lot.
If no one comes out to solve the problem of the industry. The result can only be worse. Now, no matter on festivals or TV programs, we listen the old songs as if we still live in the past. Time seems to stop at that time and the whole industry seems stopped. Isn’t it the biggest tragedy? People all knew that there was a problem, but no one thought about it or solve it.
The majority of users on Heyinliang do music in part-timely and have little fame. Before, we initiated aMillion Song Contest, and collected more than 20,000 work, including ten songs in demo version into No.1 Heyinliang ablum10.
There is a good kid on the platform who create many songs. He composes music himself and is very talented. But he is very introverted and even a bit dull. But classic songs are usually written by people who are not sociable. They use music to communicate.
The reason why talent show does not bring great people is that show requires preference on the stage to get attention. An unsociable musician will fail in the talent show. People like Xu Wei and me won’t stand out if we participate in a talent show. We may fail in the audition. This is its limitation.
A talented people with his own characteristics cannot accept talent show mode. They can’t bear the way under others’ mercy. They would leave.
CMBN: Now, several large Internet platform are working with traditional labels. What do you think of Internet+ mode in music industry?
Zheng Jun: There are various ideas and thoughts to use Internet. We use technology Internet platform to activate music industry and to do all kinds of original music bases. But it won’t success if we solely rely on Internet ideas, for music industry has its unique character. Heyinliang is not only an Internet program or an Internet+ program. We define it as +Internet program which means to use the basic resources in the industry and add with Internet advantage. Only in this way can it be done.
CMBN: You’ve been working in the music industry for more than 20 years. What’s your opinion on the current situation of Chinese music industry?
Zheng Jun: Now the industry is dying. In recent years, the performance market is expanding rapidly. Labels are selling their copyrights to internet platforms, which results in increasing copyright prices. On one side, it’s a good phenomenon, which indicates market demands give rise to price increase. On the other side, it also means a big problem that the industry cannot acquire effective profits merely with music copyrights.
The reason is that the present business mode cannot operate effectively. If this problem cannot be solved, there’s no meaning for market increasing. Internet only gives one breath for the music industry. But it may be an illusion, so I notice that it’s very clam when the industry rebound.
When an aircraft carrier is sinking, crew are unwilling to admit the fact. People who get supply think that they may manage to survive. But when the big hole cannot be fixed, no matter how much food you have, the ship will continue to sink. The difference is whether you are happy before the sinking. It’s just like the present business mode in music industry. Copyrights are sold for money and performance market is getting better. But no one notice the shaking roots behind them.
This is also the reason why I’m doing Heyinliang. We want to solve the problem in the roots. The former ship is doomed to be sunk, I will build a new ship and make it stronger to replace the old one.
CMBN: Do you mean the new ship is Heyinliang? But isn’t it very hard to change the whole industry by one people or one company?
Zheng Jun: Taihe is a whole industrial company. After cooperating with Baidu, it’s complement between traditional label and internet company. In addition, with Heyinliang joining in, I believe it will have some influence on the industry.
Gao Xiaosong, Song Ke and I are brothers of more than 20 years. I told Xiaosong my ideas at the beginning of my business. I don’t know how much they will copy in Ali. But it will be good if my ideas can be realized. It’s good for the industry. I hope the problem in the industry can be solved.
In terms of resource advantage, Ali tends to be a trading platform. We are more likely to be a 2C platform. And Taihe is closer to a label in the Internet age. Xiaoson and Song Ke are smart. I believe they will copy our ideas.
CMBN: What’s the next step of Heyinliang, or do you have any new ideas or plan?
Zheng Jun: Now, Heyinliang is doing the first part, which is the roughest one. We first make the prototype. But the true meaning is to achieve complementary advantages among music resources in different regions.
Rock and pop first started in America, so the general music attainments of Chinese are different from Americans. The U.S has large amount of original music. Their melody and composing are also very excellent. But due to the large quantity, some are wasted. So there are many good musicians who cannot make a living by music in the U.S.
It is same with idea of Chinese sing Beijing Opera. Lots of people love Beijing Opera and there are fans everywhere. Unless you are the top one, or you won’t have the opportunity to perform on the stage or make a living by it.
As for music, though China do not have so much work with excellent melody, Chinese people are good at playing words. If we bring American music to China and let Chinese fill the lyrics, and distribute profits according to certain rate, resources can soon alive. This is the rearrangement among excellent resources.
We could cooperate with American copyright companies through various modes to acquire their music, because it’s useless idle investment for them. This is what we are going to do next. I’ve talked to at least 5 people about this mode, so maybe there are people copying this. It may not be me who do this, but he must follow my mode.
CMBN: What do you think is the biggest difference between old and new generation of creators?
Zheng Jun: I think there is no advantage or disadvantage of creators. There’s only different quality of environment. The reason why old musicians created lots of classic work is that we are free spiritually. Our content is from the heart. And the environment wasn’t so tough at that time. When I entered the industry, there was a group of people who loved music very much and they were DJs. At that time, myCinderellaranked first, for those DJs helped me. But there is no longer such environment.
The modern society is too eager for quick success. Its biggest characteristic is mechanization, which is exactly different from the basic principle of creatio —- humanization. Thus, many creator want to use the quickest to succeed.
In terms of capital, it expands to each corner of modern society, except creation. It does not give good soil for creators to develop freely.
CMBN: Why the Chinese music hasn’t given birth to any classic songs in recent years?
Zheng Jun: The greatness of creation is that it’s antimatter. It is only produced in a free condition, any idea of quick success will stop it. The lack of music content is resulted from that no one provide content. You can’t let creators chewing buns and pickles while creating good songs.
Now many people complain about the lack of good songs, while refuse to provide any rewards for creators. It’s the problem of the current mode. Sincerely, do you think it is proper to let Beethoven and Mozart create good symphonies, while feed them with only one pancake a day? Is it humane? But the society is doing this.
I’m also a creator. I write many songs, but did not get much from copyright. If I made a living by composing, I would have starved to death. If a musician is starving, you still blame him that he doesn’t have talent to write good songs. This is outrageous.
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