MusicDish e-Journal - July 22, 2017
MusicDish Advertising Network
» HOME » INSIDER SCOOP » CAREER TIPS » MUSIC SPOTLIGHT » MUSICDISH*CHINA
» INDUSTRY INTERVIEWS » NEWS BEAT » DIGITAL SKOOL » OPEN REVIEW » MUSICDISH EDELWEISS
Search MusicDish e-Journal (Advanced)
Subscribe To MusicDish e-Journal
About | Contact | Advertise | RSS | Submit Article | Submit News | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution
Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network

Interview With C-pop Industry Veteran Billy Koh
Founder & former CEO of Ocean Butterflies sets up Amusic Rights Management Company in China
By Emily Haw侯君秀
(more articles from this author)
2014-03-31
Comment | Email | Print | RSS

A Singapore songwriter, composer and music producer, Billy Koh is one of the most instrumental and influential figures in the Asian Chinese-Pop (C-pop) music industry. Founder & former CEO of Ocean Butterflies, Billy transformed Ocean Butterflies Music into one of the leading independent music powerhouses in Asia for the last 20 over years.

In his 30-year long music career, Billy has produced more than 200 albums for singers from Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mainland China & the US. He is best known for discovering & producing many successful Asian acts including Kit Chan in 1994, A-Do in 2002, JJ Lin in 2003 and BY2 in 2008.

In 2014, he quit as CEO of Ocean Butterflies to pursue his new business, Amusic Rights Management, a rights management business that exploits the "publishing rights of a musical work and all other rights resulting from the reproduction of it". In particular, Amusic focuses on digital marketing of music, using an investment/ revenue sharing model with artistes that it works with.

We reached him to find out what exactly Amusic Rights Management is and how it works differently from a traditional music publisher and record label.

What have music publishers and record labels failed to do in the current state of the music industry and how does Amusic seek to improve or work differently?

In digital platforms, music is uploaded sometimes not by creators but users. Large flows of content are mostly "self-driven" instead of pre-selected by editors in the old days. It'll be much more effective to administer copyrights of songs and sound recordings together via metadata encoded as a thumbprint of the digital tracks. Amusic does exactly that, and this is what I mean by a "rights management" company, where it invests and markets music as one.

The artists and producers are free to decide who they want to work with and they are pretty much their own boss. They don't need to be tied up with the majors, whose once powerful and exclusive physical distribution networks have now become obsolete. Heavyweight artistes like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Linkin Park all have their own music companies. The major labels would only sign distribution deals with them. These majors have hardly created any music content themselves any more for the last five decades.

As digital platforms matured, especially in the last five years, music companies who really create, produce and own music can now go to digital platforms themselves, bypassing the majors. Moreover, the majors do not own any digital platforms, especially not in China.

Amusic's core business is in the digital realm but certainly not the only business. We are also involved in offline activities, such as helping clients pitch their songs for ads or placements in TV or film too.

Amusic doesn't sign any artistes. It only works with the artistes. The artistes will employ or own his/her management company which decides what he wants for his/her career. The management company will then work with Amusic Creative Team, an A&R expert arm of Amusic Rights, to develop the repertoire of the artists. Amusic Rights is responsible for the quality of the products & taking care of the investment of the products including marketing it digitally.

The internet has levelled the playing field for all big and small companies to be able to gain a foothold in the fragmented music market, because even with smaller investment budgets, a substantiated level of awareness and interactive personalization can still be achieved between artistes and fans. So from an artiste's perspective, instead of working with a major label using cookie cutter "template strategies", they have the freedom to work with different partners via a modular business model to customize a plan according to their needs.

What does it take for an album to be successful, other than making sure that the product is of high quality?

High quality can only guarantee a long-lasting listening pleasure if the song even has a chance to be a hit in the first place. But how can a song be a hit? Well, that's what A&R for. It's a matter of harnessing and capturing the best of the humanities, fashion, social, aesthetic, emotion, culture, life-style etc.

How are listeners consuming music now, particularly in China? In such a big but fragmented market, how do you ensure that your songs and artistes are heard?

Listeners in China consume music mostly through the internet, be it on PC or mobile. Marketing is about capturing focus within a specific time frame among all the rest of the competition. Using creative ways to capture attention can be the first step. However, once the crowd is pulled in, the interest level in the content will decide if the mass would want to re-generate it and amplify its reach.

In another interview, you mentioned about how the future of the music industry would and should be looking at how to maximizing its long tail. How do you think a relatively smaller company like Amusic can achieve this? Also, what are the advantages of being small?

In the older days, most people do not have access to the old hits that they wish to recall as most players for the yesteryear's carriers or physical formats are not available any more.

Now with random accessibility provided by the digital era, everything can be made easily available by uploads generated from the users, not creators. Good music which can withstand time is in the long tail now. It's always easier to make a one-time hit than a long lasting hit.

Of course, there's no guaranteed continuous success, but a good music team that has proven its acts which can last at least a decade or more must certainly possess some kind of know-how within. It's a science, not a miracle.

Being small allows us to be independent, integrated & interactive, especially in the internet age. This will make every elite work for himself. It's more incentive driven and it cuts down all the nonsense of unnecessary meetings and reporting of the majors.

In recent years, many music industry professionals in China have given up or left, due to paper thin margins and a lack of a strong and cohesive ecosystem amongst the major players in the industry, including telcos, internet operators, music labels and the government. How do you think this is changing or improving? What more can be done?

At the legislative level, for sure it needs to speed up, especially when China's economy is reforming towards growing their own innovation driven industries rather than staying merely as the "world's factory". Again, we must not take any present copyright practices for granted. Let's see it this way, what exactly are "copyrights"?

Copyrights do not exist by virtue of God. It's a result of negotiation between creators, co-workers, platforms, media, traders & end-users. There needs to be a fair deal so that the business model can be sustained. In the last 20 years, we witness how the internet has digitised all media industries. Music is no exception, like it or not. I'm open for new negotiation for a new music business model as long as creators receive enough to make music a good living. It need not be the same way as during the old school days but it definitely needs everyone to sit down in a round table to discuss. Everyone, not just the westerners.

What do you think would the future of the music industry in Asia be like, particularly in China?

The priority now is to build super strong content and make an influential impact first. We need to create a super strong demand then the money, format and business model will surface naturally. In China, a new format that you never could have imagined will emerge.

Stop predicting and start working, on-the-ground not under-ground.

The future is a land that we've never been.


Home » MusicDish*China » Interview With C-pop Industry Veteran Billy Koh
Permalink:http://www.musicdish.com/mag/?id=13566
Email |Print |Comment |RSS

back | top


MusicDish Advertising Network

MusicDish*China

» MusicDish Review: Xi'an Post-Punk Band FAZI 3rd Album "Heart of Desire"

» Canadian Sounds in China (CSC)

» QQMusic: From Streaming Service To Integrated Music Content Producer

» BMG Partners With Chinese Social Network Momo

» MusicDish Music Releases in China: SLC, HearIM, Tom Ricci, Voodoo Swing

MusicDish*China Directory



» [2017-07-05] Music Streaming Service: The Next Frontier For Tesla And Elon Musk; Critical Of Existing Streaming Algorithms And The Quality Of Their Playlists, Elon Musk Promised To Build A Music Service Feature For Tesla Vehicles

» [2017-07-05] Generation Z: Meet The Young Millennials; Teens Value Video Platforms For Music Discovery And Social Engagement, But, As They Develop As Music Consumers, Look To Audio Streaming Services

» [2017-07-04] MusicDish Review: Xi'an Post-Punk Band FAZI 3rd Album "Heart Of Desire"; With Their Usual Blunt Directness, FAZI Once Again Created Music That Awakens The Listeners, Arranged Thick And Deep, Graceful, Velvety Sounds To Adorn This Album

» [2017-07-04] Aloft Hotels And MTV Spotlight Top Asia Pacific Music Talent; Aspiring Musicians Are Invited To Submit Original Songs For A Chance To Win A Mentorship By MTV And US$10,000 To Fund Their Music Journey

» [2017-06-29] Canadian Sounds In China (CSC); July 1 Is Canada's 150th Anniversary And We're Using This Opportunity To A Soft Launch A New Project Called Canadian Sounds In China

» [2017-06-28] QQMusic: From Streaming Service To Integrated Music Content Producer; This Update Pushes QQMusic One Step Closer Towards Becoming An Integrated Music Content Producer

» [2017-06-25] Music Works International Expands Team, Roster And Global Reach; International Booking Agency Builds On Momentum To Push Reach Outward And Upward

» [2017-06-25] BMG Partners With Chinese Social Network Momo; The Deal Will Provide An International Showcase For Emerging Social Media Stars From China

» [2017-06-21] MusicDish Music Releases In China: SLC, HearIM, Tom Ricci, Voodoo Swing; MusicDish*China Has Been Releasing Independent Music To The Major Music Platforms, Reaching Over 90% Of Mainland Chinese Music Listeners

» [2017-06-21] ASCAP And YouTube Reach Multi-Year Agreement For US Performance Rights; The Mutual Goal Of This Agreement Is To Work Together To Ensure That ASCAP Members Get Paid More Fairly And Accurately For The Use Of Their Music On YouTube

» [2017-06-20] Supreme Court Rules Unanimously In Favor Of The Slants; Asian-American Rock Band Wins Long-running Battle With The Trademark Office Over Their Name In A Victory For Free Speech

» [2017-06-18] Longtail Music Provides An Alternative To The On-Demand Algorithm; Live Broadcasts Are Brought To The Forefront To Assist Listeners In Music Discovery
MusicDish Advertising Network

follow MusicDish on
Follow MusicDish on Twitter

Mi2N Music PR

Versatile Haitian American Singer/Songwriter Natalie Jean Releases New World Album

Sound Behavior Troupe Take A Swipe At Bay Area PC Culture In Latest Single

Handshake & Ice Cream Helps Artists Monetize Their Facebook Followers

NABIHA Comes Good On 'IOU' To Fans

Joe Deninzon & Stratospheerius Sign To Melodic Revolution Records

First Acts For ADE LIVE Announced: Hercules & Love Affair, Fatima Yamaha, Anna Of The North, Phlake, Vessels And More

Gospel Blues Singer/Songwriter, Kimberlee M. Leber, Reveals How To 'Fight The Good Fight Of Faith' In Her New Music Video



Websites: Mi2N | MusicDish*China | MusicDish Network | MusicDishTV | Urban Music News Network
Services: Submit Article | Submit News | Submit Video | Artist Development | Premium PR Distribution

Copyright © 1997-2017 MusicDish LLC., all rights reserved.
About MusicDish e-Journal | Contact Us | Advertise | RSS | Internships