China represents ‘the world’s biggest experiment in testing the new business models of the future’, according to Universal’s CEO and chairman Max Hole.
Speaking at Music Matters in Singapore, Hole said that the entire Asian region is consuming music like never before due to rapidly developing digital technology and new access models.
‘The Chinese have virtually bypassed the business model that we came to rely on so effectively in the West and Japan over the past 50 years,’ he said. ‘The traditional model of purchasing musical product, be it physical or digital, has never really existed in China on any major scale. The market is moving straight to one where it’s all about securing access to tracks. We are in the middle of an extraordinary transition and it’s very exciting to be part of it.’
Whilst acknowledging the potential of China and the wider Asian market, Hole said that long-term vision and relationship-building would be key in securing the industry’s future.
He also stressed the need to invest in local talent at a grassroots level. ‘In the last 50 years the music industry has made 80 per cent of its money in about 10 countries, and too much of our money in Asia with artists from outside the region.
‘In the next 30 years I believe this has to change. The 80/10 split is bad for business, bad for artists and bad for fans. The real opportunity is turning the 80/10 into something more evenly balanced. Indonesia, China and India are key markets for us in achieving this.’