Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

London Calling For Chinese Labels

May 27

Written by:
5/27/2008 7:01 PM  RssIcon

As biggest ever delegation from Beijing heads to British showcase, CAVA boss talks to Cluas

It's hard to get solid information from Chinese music industry folks. When looking for figures they usually send me on to the "relevant government authorities." So I was happy when the other day Cluas got an interview with Wang Ju, vice president of state-affiliated China Audio Video Association (CAVA), the state-affiliated body which represents local labels. CAVA is leading a big Chinese delegation to the influential music trade fair London Calling in June, because “First, we want to make friends with our foreign counterparts and open a window for Chinese music.”

The Chinese government is giving CAVA cash to mount booths at Midem (in France) and London Calling this year, in what some China-based industry players see as a one-off effort by state trade bodies to make China appear visible in its Olympic year. But what's the payback to Chinese music? Polite-spoken Mr Wang talks like the career government official he is. "We want to examine the foreign mainstream music market to which we can show our music products and then gradually we can perfect our products and build up a all-round trading mechanism systemetically. Second, we want to know deeper from the London calling forums about what's going on in the international music market and about how has newmedia music affected the traditional music industry." In London, he says, the Chinese “would like to persue commercial cooperation in terms of copyright trading.”

Wang reckons CD piracy is on the wane in China because there’s less new music product about. “Personally i think piracy is decreasing. I think there are mainly two reasons. First, now they get less and less sources, for popular original music are decreasing in number. Because of the pressure from piracy and new media, benefits of original artists and company cannot be guaranteed. That's why we get less popular singers and popular songs. Second, the government has been keeping their attentions on piracy through relevant regulations."

The number of CD shops is falling, he says. There were 100,000 audio-visual shops across China registered with the State Association for Industry & Commerce (SAIC) in 2005 but the figure dropped to 85,000 in 2007, says Wang. "The problem lies in that not many people would like to open audio-video shop now."

He credits the drop to “pressure” from Internet and cell phone downloads. CAVA, says Wang, is encouraging shops to sell genuine CDs. The SAIC figures may not cover the shack-sized stores in China’s smaller cities which invariably sell pirated CDs and VCDs. But Wang suggests that these may be a dying breed. “There’s literally less new music around for pirates to copy. Artists are more reluctant to release CDs."

Because it's not profitable under the pressure of music from new media(Interet,cell phone,etc.) There were 100,000 or so audio-video shops in China, but now the number is decsending, but I do not get the exact figure.there are no new limitations for getting license, actually we are encouraging people to open more audio-video shops to sell genuine CDs.

 

Off to London to represent Chinese music industry, interestingly Wang doesn’t “know much” about the much heralded new system of collecting royalties from KTV bars. “You should check with China Audio video Collective Association, a new organization that is going to be formally established on May 28th. This agency is entitled by the government to deal with royalties.”

Equally, he doesn’t have figures for how much of China's CD and digital music sales are accounted for by local labels compared to international ones. Bon voyage and happy learning in London, Mr Wang. I'll look for more relevant government authorities to answer my questions.


 

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