Music Matters Highlights: Asian Conference Draws Live Nation's Arthur Fogel, QQ Music's Andy Ng & Pentatonix

Arthur Fogel at the Music Matters Conference in Singapore.
Rob Schwartz

Arthur Fogel at the Music Matters Conference in Singapore.

The Asia-focused Music Matters conference took place in Singapore earlier this week, with global music industry leaders including Live Nation president of global touring Arthur Fogel, Sony Music Entertainment executive Denis Handlin and music supervisor Dave Jordan all delivering keynotes. The event, which is under the All the Matters umbrella, was presented by Branded and took place Sept. 12-15 at the Marina Bay Sands complex. 

Arthur Fogel offered his insights on touring in general and the development of Asia as a strong region. "I think that perhaps what is the common denominator in the development of various regions is that it may take a while to get traction but once that kicks in it tends to accelerate faster and faster. And think this region is entering that…" Fogel commented on how touring has grown. "There is a convergence of a concept of global touring for an artist layered onto an incredible global footprint that Live Nation has developed and built in the last 10 years…it's really that convergence and ultimately the best of both worlds to be able to provide for artists that incredible global footprint that facilitates touring in countries that a number of years ago didn't get the kind or volume of shows that happens in today's business."

Denis Handlin's speech struck an extremely upbeat chord. He stressed the music industry is now more vibrant than ever. "Social media is helping record companies and their artists connect with fans directly in a way we could have never connected a few years ago. Fans… are more demanding and have never had as much power as they've had today." He suggested fans are not only more empowered but also have greater access to music. "For the first time in history anyone can listen to what they like, when they like, wherever they like." He noted there were challenges due to the new technology but that the industry had grown 3 percent over the last year. In addition, touching on a theme of the conference, he predicted China would be one of the top grossing music markets in the world very soon.

David Jordan of Format Entertainment discussed a music supervisor's role in synchronizing music for $100-million budget films. He stressed the supervisor must "figure out what is the process that filmmakers have, what are the issues they have, what is the price point… and the ease of use…. how easy is it to clear and what are the issues with the artists' approvals." He noted that a skilled music supervisor must consider the whole film and not just each scene. "You'll score a movie and they'll continue to cut the picture and then the composer will go back and score certain scenes in the movie. And in the context of that new scene that score works great but when you put it in the context of all the music it just starts to feel like vignette after vignette after vignette….let me see he flow of the movie. Let me see if it's all working. Let me see if it works within the context of the movie."

The five members of Pentatonix had a relaxed Q&A and described how the group's career was given the crucial push by YouTube. Social media is key for them on all levels and member Scott Hoying noted, "We had to use social media because that's the only way to connect instantly with fans. If you become huge on social media you break in all the markets at once. I'm so glad we're able to travel. We're in Singapore right now, we're able to go to Japan because we have fans there." Hoying added that the group's strategy on social media was simply to create great content, "Content is king… or queen," he joked. 

The appearance by Andy Ng, the General Manager of QQ Music, the leading music subscription service of Tencent Holdings, was timely. Tencent has just become Asia's most valuable company. Ng noted that the last year has seen a gigantic leap in the Chinese music market, going a long way to eliminating piracy and getting paying consumers. QQ Music now has 10 million paying subscribers he related. He suggested that the growth will continue at a fast pace.

CAA super agent Emma Banks is becoming a Music Matters/All that Matters regular, attending for her second year in a row. She summed up the conferences. "It's a really good opportunity to see a whole bunch of people from Asia in one place in one go."