India, China to drive music growth in Asia

MUMBAI: Marché International De L’édition Musicale (Midem), the five day annual music industry trade fair held in Cannes, this year was bullish on the Asian market. India, China and Indonesia have been identified as the region’s main growth drivers over the next four years.


Today, the Asian market boasts of over one billion mobile handsets and is projected to account for over 40 per cent of the world’s mobile music revenues by 2011.


Midem, which brings together music and technology professionals from various countries, concluded on 31 January. It provides a forum for business talks, discussion of issues, showcasing new artists, trends and music-related products.


This year, Midem saw participation of Indian companies like Saregama, Times and BIG Music amongst others. While each of these companies attended the fair with a different agenda, they are all of the opinion that digital platforms across the world are gaining a fair share of importance in the music business.


Midem organized its ninth two day forum – MidemNet, to discuss new technologies and business models in the music industry. The digital aggregators from mobile and the internet participated in full strength.


Times Music has been attending Midem since nine years now. Says Times Music COO Adarsh Gupta, “This year, the number of attendees was low, but the relevancy of attendees was high. We signed approximately 30 contracts as licensees and licensors. From Times’ catalogue, spiritual and wellness based content had good demand followed by fair amount of interest in Bollywood content.”


For Reliance ADAG’s newly set up firm BIG Music, this was the first year of attendance. BIG Music and Home Entertainment CEO Kulmeet Makkar says, “We went with a two way approach of setting up our distribution network with publishers and sub-licensees and to meet content sellers. We had keen interest in international content, which can be localized and exploited on the mobile platform. In fact mobile hardware and service providers from across the world thought that music has very high potential on this platform.”


Saregama appointed its sub-publishers for Scandinavian countries this year. They also licensed works from some British publishers. Saregama CEO Atul Churamani elaborates, “Since business is shifting to the internet, the primary purpose of buying and selling for territories has changed. Physical sales are going down and digital sales are increasing, but digital does not make up for the loss of physical sales. Digital platforms have not grown as yet in a lot of places. In India too it is limited to the caller back ring tone on mobiles.”


YouTube founder and CEO Chad Hurley and social network Bebo’s global president Joanna Shields, addressed the keynote session at MidemNet on issue of positioning their platforms within the music industry and how to monetize that access.


Next year in 2009, Midem will be held from 18 – 22 January and MidemNet will be held on 17 and 18 January.