The first annual Music Industry Conference (MIC) 2012, Taiwan was held at the Sun World Dynasty Hotel and other venues around Taipei on November 8-11. The conference focused on capitalizing on the greater China market (The People’s Republic, Hong Kong and Taiwan), exporting Asian music to the West, and finding routes for collaboration.
It was the first-ever government-sponsored international conference in Taiwan and music legend Peter Jenner attended along with the Swedish/Australian songwriting team of Iggy Strange Dahl and Hayden Bell. Canada-based American Mark Berry, a well-known producer and founder of the Attack Media Group, also took part as did Asia music expert and founder of the digital media firm MusicDish, French-American Eric de Fontenay.
Peter Jenner, who managed Pink Floyd, T Rex The Clash, Baaba Maal, and Billy Bragg among others, spoke about how Asian bands might start to build a profile in Western markets. He noted that, “Artists and managers used to be more aware it is a money-driven business. So if you are a small artist you need to graciously accept the crumbs that fall off the table.” He added, “if you can do that graciously you may get a whole hamburger next time!”
Iggy Strange Stahl, co-founder of songwriting team The Kennel in Sweden, is one of the most successful European songwriters in the Asian market. He and his team have had over 30 number one singles in Asia He has worked with artists that include Namie Amuro in Japan, Jolin Tsai and Elva Hsiao in Taiwan, and Super Junior and BoA in Korea. Stahl pointed that it is important for songwriters to study the structure of pop songs in Asia, particularly Japan, which can differ from Western pop songs, and research the market where you want to try and sell your work.
Bill Zang, the chairman of the China Music Industry Committee and the president of the China Music Copyrights Management Association, reported that there are over 700 million mobile device users in the greater China region and the age where digital music will be monetized is coming for the mainland. He urged producers, from both the West and the East to focus on this market.
Eric de Fontenay offered advice to Asian bands hoping to break in the US. He noted a good strategy was to find US or European bands and scenes that matched the Asian band looking for new markets and form an alliancw. He suggested reaching out, recording tracks together and/or touring as way to connect with potential audiences overseas.
Ed Yen, a well-known Taiwanese producer, songwriter and sound engineer, whose latest outfit is the Pop Music Project Office, focused on using digital tools to help an act make money. He noted artists can increase their revenue by analyzing data about their fans and figuring out how to provide the fans with product they want.