Singapore’s Digital & Music Matters 2013 Concludes: First Growth in Global Music Industry Recorded in 13 Years, Challenges & Opportunities In Asian Markets & Digital Growth Overview




May 24, 2013 (Singapore) – Described by artists as “TED meets SXSW”, the award-winning Digital & Music Matters successfully concluded Friday in Singapore.  Asia’s pioneering music conference brought together key global players in the music and digital industries for three days of interactive workshops, panels, and keynote sessions, a one day music academy and five days of live entertainment.  All of the week’s events were streamed live via YouTube/Movideo and the first-ever YouTube FanFest with HP premiered, also streamed live online.

1,400 individuals from 30 countries attended the three-day conference which is held in conjunction with festival events from Music Matters Live and YouTube FanFest. This year’s keynote speakers included: Rob Wells (Universal Music Group; President, Global Digital Business), Frances Moore (IFPI; CEO), Axel Dauchez (Deezer; CEO), Johnny Wright (Wright Entertainment Group; President & CEO; Justin Timberlake, Manager), and Kenji Kitatani ($1.5 billion Avex Holdings; President).

Other speakers included Benji Rogers (Pledge Music; Founder & CEO), who spoke about another buzzing topic in the industry, crowd-funding.

Digital & Music Matters 2013 explored the current state of the global music industry, with a strong focus on the Asian markets and digital growth. Asian markets are recognized by several industry leaders as untapped international markets which need to be recognized as markets which will have big roles in the industry’s future. Increased digital growth and new technology are continually decreasing the distance between existing markets as well as creating new ones. Resulting in an increasingly globalized music business.


Frances Moore’s keynote on Day Two of Asia’s Digital & Music Matters conference.

Digital growth is on the rise, especially in the music industry, where there has been a substantial decrease in money, time, and any other problems required to get music heard. With sites such as YouTube you can upload content, such as music, and send halfway around the world in less than a minute. In addition, local music is traveling internationally to find new markets, which may be a big help in the future of rebuilding the business.

Frances Moore, CEO of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), provided  the conference an overview of the key industry trends in Asia and internationally. She began her keynote with the exciting and optimistic announcement that for the first time in 13 years the worldwide music industry witnessed any growth. Although the it grew by only .02 percent, a positive measurement of growth globally is tangible evidence that it is the beginning of a music industry industry no longer in decline. No one expects this to happen over night of course, even Moore stated for just to reach sustained annual growth on global scale it could take several more years. However it was the resulting “palpable buzz”  across the industry, which she described as failing to see it in years.

The industry is currently seeing an increase in the repertoire from emerging and non-English speaking markets able to cross international borders. Moore said “it is exciting to see non-Angle-American artists connect to a fast expanding global audience” and for example used Korean artist and YouTube sensation, PSY, who’s single ‘Gangnam Style’ was number three on IFPI’s global best-selling single table of 2012.

A significant factor stressed by Moore was that Asian markets are at a key moment in their development. Her speech analyzed specific examples, pointing out each market’s strength, those mentioned by Moore included the K-pop boom in South Korea, China’s large Baidu territory cutting deals with record companies, and the strength of physical records in Japan.

The whole of Asia is right now at a pivotal moment of development. Licensed digital content is spreading rapidly across the region. Physical sales and the first generation of mobile and ringtones businesses are giving way to a new generation of digital services, delivered on new platforms.

You can practically see the momentum building.

iTunes has opened stores in 14 markets, many of them local language services and all of them licensed by majors and independents. If iTunes sales evolve in Asia as they have in other markets around the world, we can expect strong growth.

-Frances Moore, IFPI (CEO)

Axel Dauchez, Deezer’s CEO and a featured New Music Seminar player in June, highlighted the company’s international presence and focus on Asia in his interview during Music Matters last week. Launched less than year ago and not yet available in the U.S., Deezer already has 4 million subscribers, access to 25 million tracks, and is available in several European countries (unfortunately not yet in the U.S.).

Of all streaming services, [Deezer] is in the most Asian markets and has the most users.

Axel Dauchez, Deezer (CEO)

His interview at Music Matters provided insight into the unique challenges faced when a company attempts to enter Asian markets which several are beginning to try and break into. Acknowledging that there were special challenges which must be taken into account for success, the two main points Dauchez provided to companies wishing to enter Asian markets:  (1) a B2B approach, emphasizing the uniqueness of each territory for Asia; (2) mobility, stressing a company’s ability to be fluid in their approaches and adapt to local circumstances in the Asian markets.


Rob Wells being interviewed by Ralph Simon on Day One of Asia’s Digital & Music Matters conference.

Universal Music Group’s (UMG) president of global digital business, Rob Wells, was interviewed by Ralph Simon, Chairman Emeritus and founder of the Mobile Entertainment Forum – Americas and the CEO of the Mobilium Advisory group, as part of the keynote at Digital & Music Matters, in which he discussed digital strategy for his company Universal and his views of Asia’s digital music space. During the exchange, Wells learned the good news he had been appointed to UMG’s Group Executive Board and was presented with a giant bottle of champagne. Oddly this wasn’t his first time Wells was presented with alcohol on stage at Music Matters, back during the 2011 conference he played a drinking-game as part of a Q&A with Omniphone’s Rob Lewis.

Click here to read the full article with an included video of “Universal’s Rob Wells Vs. Omniphone’s Rob Lews Vs. Jack Daniels at Music Matters” .

To succeed in the Asian markets, Wells emphasized the importance of providing local content on domestic subscription services as well as  maintaining a domestic repertoire. He appeared to practice what he preached and said Universal is currently focusing on signing domestic acts in Asia, and predicted an increase in entertainment stars from Asia and most notably China. Western acts are pairing up with Asian territories to create content with crossover potential, hoping to engage both the Asian and US/Europe market to drive higher music sales, the collaboration between India’s Pryyanka Chopra and U.S. artists Pitbull for example. He noted a similar observation Moore had, that iTunes is taking root in the region which is a good sign for Asian markets and the music business as a whole. To sum his thoughts on the Asia market, Wells explained “for the last six years [Asia] has been a Petri dish of experimentation for services and revenue streams now gaining transaction… The music industry is starting to take off worldwide again, fresh revenue and platforms are springing forth throughout the [Asia].

Deezer’s Axel Dauchez will be joining Ron Wilcox (Executive Counsel, WMG), Jeff Toig (Senior Vice President, Muve Music), Michael Abbattista (Global Head of Telecome/ISP Partnerships, Spotify) on the NMS movement ‘Fox Rothschild Presents: Building the $100 Billion Music Business: Monetizing Music in the New Era (CLE). Ralph Simon, who interviewed WMG’s Rob Wells last week at the Asian conference, will be conducting the movement’s discussion on new ways to accelerate revenue growth in the music business and how each player was successful with their own companies.

Pledge Music’s Founder & CEO Benji Rogers will also be present to discuss crowdfunding at NMS this June. Conducted by Glenn Peoples (Senior Editorial Analyst, Billboard), Rogers and other key players of the music industry, including artists like Mike Doughty, will examine ways to improve the crowdfunding model during the “Beyond Crowdfunding: Campaigns To Tap Into The Lost $2.5 Billion” movement.

Click here to see the full NMS conference schedule including movements with descriptions, players, and more. 

Don’t miss the unique opportunity to listen to experts and visionaries discuss new ideas that will be part of the music industry’s future, participate in movements addressing the most pressing issues facing the music business today,and network with the industry’s key players.

Click to start your registration for NMS conference June 9-11 in NYC here!


About author

Lindsey Lonadier

Brooklyn, NY | Content Director, NMS