The State of Music in China, India and the Rest of Australasia

Every May I come here to Singapore for the Music Matters Conference, Asia’s biggest music industry gathering. It’s my annual deep dive into the music ecosystem on this side of the planet. It’s substantially different from what we’re used to in North America, the UK and Europe.

Political, economic, social and even religious sensibilities have had (and continue to to have) tremendous influences on the way music is made, distributed and consumed by billions of people.

China (1.4 billion), India (1.25 billion), Indonesia (250 million) and Japan (127 million) all have their own ways of doing things. K-Pop keeps getting more and more massive. Taiwan has some solid metal bands. And it’s fascinating to learn how these music economies interact with and influence each other. We can learn a lot about music by getting out of our Western shell to observe how things are done here.

I had an interesting conversation with a woman from a music streaming company called Guvera, which provides streaming music to millions of Indians, something that requires ultra-complex music licensing deals that work with micro payments made by users who still use feature phones.

Then there’s this: an article on how music is distributed in China. The best observation from this article is noting that everything that China’s music business is today arose from piracy. Give it a read.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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