Beijing Beat blog with Mark Godfrey

Beijing Beat

Local Labels Beating the Majors in China

Aug 5

Written by:
8/5/2008 3:06 AM  RssIcon

By using local market knowledge and ties to corporations local labels are winning China's clubby music scene


If there's one company to watch in Asia's music scene it could be Taihe Rye. Flush with venture capital and a massive recent investment from SK Telecom, which bought 42% of the company, TaiHe beat local and interational competition to signing Li Yuchun, a sensation in China when she won the Super Girl reality show in 2006.

I had an interesting visit recently with Zhan Hua, vice president of this most commercially successful of Chinese labels. You can tell that from the company’s office: rather than an apartment-cum-office on the 13th floor of a western suburb apartment block - the kind of place I've become used to going to find local labels - Tai He Rye's 90-strong staff has very nice digs. Staffers sit out onto a pavilion to smoke and shoot the breeze.Soothed by the green lawn and a bubbling brook, Tai He Rye’s top brass do their deals on mobile phones.

The jeep Cherokee parked rudely right in front of the door – and a stack of fan mail, with kids effort and writing, suggest a label with stars. Tai He called in a British songwriting crew to produce and write English songs for Li, “to get her an international presence,” and repackaged her as a girl-next-door looking starlet called Cris Lee.

The label wants more collaborations with foreign counterparts but is worried that English songs won't translate well to Chinese. I'll write a longer article later about my couple of hours on Taihe's giant purple executive couch in the office near Sihui subway stop but the key thoughts I took away from this interview was that multinational labels haven't got it made in China: Tai He beat its former partner Warner to Li YuChun and with SK's money the company will


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