China is becoming a hot place for music, as Western influences gradually seep into the country. Last year hip-hop became a dominant force in Chinese music (although mostly with Chinese artists, not American imports) and now it looks like electronic music is hitting there too. As a result, Sony Music has launched a new label in partnership with Tencent Music Entertainment specializing in the genre. The new label is called Liquid State.
Tencent Music Entertainment is a subsidiary of Chinese giant Tencent Holdings that tech and Internet giant. It’s financial strength is similar to Google’s, so Sony has certainly teamed with a partner both with deep pockets and market penetration. Tencent has promised to promote Liquid State through its various media channels such as WeChat, QQ, Tencent Video and QZone.
Tencent has also invested in other Western music ventures, like the recent stock swap with Spotify.
Again, what’s interesting here is that the intention is to find and promote new Chinese artists, not already established Western ones, although the Chinese-American ZHU might be the exception. Among new artists signed include China’s DJ Lizzy, and Chris Lee, Hong Kong’s Nicholas Tse and Senugri, and Korean duo Junkilla and BIGBANG.
At one point in time, any venture having to do with intellectual property (like music) was off limits to Western companies due to China’s lax copyright laws. That was back in the days of physical product and downloads, but today streaming is a different story, especially with a powerful and profitable partner like Tencent. The market there is way too large to overlook these days, and any Western music company looking for growth is definitely looking East. A population of 1.4 billion is just too big to pass up.