Golden Melody Awards Turn 25: Global Industry Talks 'Road to Recovery,' Jason Mraz & JJ Lin Perform in Taiwan

JJ Lin and Jason Mraz perform at the Golden Melody Awards

JJ Lin and Jason Mraz perform at the Golden Melody Awards

The Golden Melody Awards, the Grammys of the Mandarin pop world, celebrated its 25th year and expanded its structure as it was held June 20-29 in Taiwan's capital, Taipei. This year a music conference was attached to the awards and industry executives from around the globe attended.

The conference saw Frances Moore, president of IFPI, deliver one of the keynote speeches. The talks were open to the public and over 3,000 people attended the 16 events, which included 10 panels, 4 keynote addresses, and 2 venture capital investor seminars. Fifty-eight industry personnel acted as presenters, panelists and moderators, hailing from the US, UK, Canada, France, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, China, and various southeast Asian nations. In addition to Moore, Jason Peterson, CEO of GoDigital; Noni Ellison Southall, Head of Music at Turner Broadcasting Systems; and Daniel Seah, CEO of Digital Domain 3.0, attended.

Musical showcases also took place throughout the conference, mainly of Taiwanese acts, and over 15,000 attended these concerts which were spread across Taipei. Newly minted Universal Records Taiwan star Dawen Wang and rock-reggae band Matzka were the standouts.

Frances Moore spoke to a packed hall and noted her speech would be shorter than planned with other IFPI execs picking up the slack. She started by (correctly) pointing out that "Taiwan is a creative music hub for the region."  She suggested that one of IFPI's main tasks is "educating the consumer that music matters and that copyright is an important and valuable part of the economy." From there she described the state of global recording industry, which she characterized as a dynamic industry now in a most exciting time. She noted the digital revolution was accelerating and pointed to the variety of revenue streams now (subscription service, streaming, download) when only downloads existed 10 years ago. She summarized this situation as the "portfolio model,'" where access is replacing ownership as the mode of consuming music. 

Frances Moore 

Moore explained that the global industry saw small growth for the first time in 13 years in 2012 and that trend continued in 2013, though the growth was modest enough for it to be considered flat. Still, Moore saw this as good news. 

"The road to recovery is not short or simple, but we are on the road to recovery," she said. She suggested that some of the main drivers of this recovery are companies committed to licensing, quoting the figure of 37 million tracks now licensed to 400 musical services worldwide. She asserted consumers are using subscription services in increasing numbers. She further suggested one of the new and promising signs for the industry was access to emerging markets in areas like Latin America, and Africa where this had not been the case before.

In this new globalized environment Moore related that some believe record labels are not necessary. She asserted they indeed are and pointed to the $4.5 billion they invest every year in A&R to nurture and discover new music.

Moore continued, stating that no uniform picture of the world music markets could be sketched as each territory has its own structure now. Subscription services are skyrocketing in some areas of Europe while in Latin American consumers use music services bundled with their mobile package by a telecom provider. Moore stressed that licensing music across all territories and formats is the heart of IFPI strategy to keep the industry healthy. She also offered some good news by revealing that performance rights' income saw a 19% increase in 2013, and that it is now 7% of total music revenue worldwide.

She noted mainland China may introduce a collection of this income and that would be a big step forward.

Jason Peterson delivered a keynote that offered an incisive view of how the music and entertainment industries could profit from the digital environment. He noted there are many problems with the way content providers operate. These include an inability to identify and optimize rights, an inability for rights holders to maintain serviceable master packages, a lack of supply chain standards, a lack of a global local language for exhibition, a lack of exhibition of standards and lack of ease of use of content. 

He suggested industry players work together to create a 'FedEx-like' digital supply chain to solve the worldwide multi-format and localization problem. He proposed pairing sales with logistics to create a 'Visa-like' like interchange between players in the value chain.

Overall, Peterson stressed identifying and providing for under-served markets will be a real growth area. He asserted the ability to identity and track consumer content will become more valuable than content itself. 

The proceedings of the conference were capped off with Golden Melody Awards show on June 29, a gala affair lasting three-and-a-half hours, and attended by nearly 15,000 in Taipei Arena. Special guest Jason Mraz performed 2 songs, including his hit "I'm Yours" with folk-rock band Raining Jane and Singaporean singer-songwriter JJ Lin. Taiwanese Mandarin pop superstar Jolin Tsai presented a medley of her hits. For the awards Lin snatched Best Mandarin Male Singer for "Stories Untold" (Warner Music) and Penny Tai nabbed Best Mandarin Female Singer for "Unexpected (Never Fall)".