UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCES STRATEGIC EXPANSION AND FRONTLINE LABEL LAUNCHES WITHIN CHINA
UNIVERSAL MUSIC GREATER CHINA LAUNCHES MULTI-LABEL STRUCTURE TO INCREASE FOCUS ON DOMESTIC A&R AND BRING CHINESE MUSIC CULTURE TO THE WORLD
REPUBLIC RECORDS TO LAUNCH ITS FIRST INTERNATIONAL DIVISION IN CHINA, TONY WEN APPOINTED AS MD
HISTORIC CHINESE LABELS – POLYGRAM RECORDS CHINA & EMI CHINA – WILL ALSO BE RELAUNCHED AS FRONTLINE LABELS ALONGSIDE UNIVERSAL MUSIC CHINA
BEIJING, August 16, 2021 – Universal Music Greater China (UMGC), a division of Universal Music Group (UMG), the world leader in music-based entertainment today announced a significant expansion of its recorded music operations within China, including the establishment of a multi-label structure, featuring new flagship labels, to intensify its focus on domestic A&R and local-language artists within the region.
As the first major music company to establish multiple frontline label operations across China, UMG’s move marks an acceleration of its local artist investment with the establishment of several distinct label brands – Republic Records China, EMI China, PolyGram Records China and Universal Music China. Each label will operate independently with its own dedicated artist rosters, A&R and specialist marketing teams. Reporting to Sunny Chang, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Greater China, the labels reinforce UMGC’s commitment to introducing the next wave of Chinese music talent to the world across a variety of genres. The labels include:
Republic Records China is the first international division of leading U.S. label Republic Records to launch worldwide. Republic, founded and led by brothers Monte and Avery Lipman, is home to some of the world’s most acclaimed and successful international artists, labels and entrepreneurs, including: Taylor Swift; Ariana Grande; Drake; The Weeknd; and Post Malone, amongst others. It has long been synonymous with breaking and introducing global talent of the highest quality. The new Republic Records China label will be built with the same blueprint and ethos as its sister label, under the leadership of Tony Wen, who has been appointed Managing Director, Republic Records China, effective immediately. Wen, who has significant experience within the Chinese music and media industries as both a successful music producer and former Sony Music and EE-media executive, will focus on signing and developing the next generation of Chinese music and C-pop talent from Mainland China, with a view to reaching a global audience. The new label’s first signings will be announced shortly.
Universal Music China (UMC) will be relaunched as a newly shaped label division under the leadership of Garand Wu, Managing Director, Universal Music China, and will represent some of the country’s most exciting domestic talent including the two biggest selling breakthrough artists of 2020, Li Nong Chen (陈立农) and Sunnee(杨芸晴) alongside Guo Ding (郭顶), Tanya Chua(蔡健雅), Tifa Chen(陈梓童). The label will also continue to represent UMG’s international artist repertoire. In recent years, Republic Records/UMG artist Taylor Swift made history, becoming the biggest-selling international artist in China with each of her three most recent studio albums selling in excess of a million albums in record time. Other international UMG artists to have built loyal audiences amongst Chinese music fans include: Justin Bieber; Ariana Grande; Billie Eilish; Katy Perry; Lady Gaga; Maroon 5; and Troye Sivan. In addition, the label will be home to China’s acclaimed classics and jazz division, which includes music and artists from the historic Deutsche Grammophon and Decca labels, alongside leading Chinese classical talent such as Lang Lang (DG), Yuja Wang (DG), Xuefei Yang (杨雪霏), Gina Alice (吉娜爱丽丝), Chengyu Cai(蔡程昱), Tao Wang(王弢) and the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, alongside Maestro Long Yu (余隆). UMC is also home to the Magic Muses label, China’s first label dedicated solely to film soundtrack and score.
EMI China’s relaunch will mark the beginning of a new era for the historic label, which has been an integral part of China’s musical legacy for more than a century. The label will be led by Mei Yeh, who will also continue to serve as Managing Director, Universal Music Taiwan. EMI China’s new dedicated A&R and marketing team will be based in Beijing and report to Mei and will focus on developing new talent, alongside an existing artist roster that already includes the likes of aMei(張惠妹), Rainie Yang(楊丞琳) and Eve Ai(艾怡良).
Polygram Records China will relaunch under the leadership of Duncan Wong, who will also continue to serve as Manager Director, Universal Music Hong Kong. The label will relaunch with a dedicated A&R and marketing team based in Beijing, alongside additional resources in Hong Kong and will leverage the history and success in Cantopop that PolyGram achieved in the region throughout the past half century. The label will focus on developing emerging domestic singer/songwriters, with new acts joining a roster of artists that already includes: Alan Tam(譚詠麟); Priscilla Chan(陳慧嫻); Lowell Lo(卢冠廷); Kelly Chen(陳慧琳); AGA(江海迦); Gin Lee(李幸倪); Jace Chan(陳凱詠); Gary Chiu (趙浚承) ; Mike Tsang (曾比特) and Niu Niu(张胜量).
In making the announcement, Sunny Chang, Chairman & CEO, UMGC, said, “We are proud to announce that after 15 years of development in the local market, Universal Music is once again demonstrating its commitment to the Chinese creative community by becoming the first international major music company to launch multilabel operations here. Garand, Duncan and Mei are all veterans of Universal Music and highly respected leaders in the Chinese music market. Each of them can boast of more than 25 years of experience with an outstanding track record. In addition, I am very pleased to welcome Tony Wen – a highly experienced senior executive in the music industry who established his career in the local market – to the amazing UMGC team. His insights and experiences about the Chinese music market will bring indispensable value for us. I believe under the new structure of four distinct labels, the star team at UMGC will be able to better support local musicians in a way that is more professional and comprehensive. With an innovative and pioneering spirit, UMGC will develop rising stars from the Chinese market and promote Chinese pop music so that it can be heard an audience around the world.”
Republic Records founder Chairman & CEO Monte Lipman said, “Today’s announcement reflects the Chinese market’s extraordinary growth and the palpable influence it has on our industry worldwide. We’re thrilled that Republic Records will be led in China by the brilliant leadership team of Tony and Sunny.”
Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development said, “It is a unique time for music in China, with a diversly rich talent pool of new artists loaded with the potential to achieve huge success –domestically, across Asia and, more than ever before, around the world. UMG has a long history and culture of supporting and developing the best global music talent. The launch of these new labels will help accelerate and strengthen the domestic Chinese music market, which will benefit artists, our many partners and platforms across the region and, importantly, introduce new and exciting artists and music to fans in China and beyond. I’d like to welcome Tony to the UMG label family; we are incredibly excited for Republic to become a new force synonymous with the best in Chinese music, and for the historic EMI, PolyGram and Universal Music China labels to extend their legacy as champions of Chinese music under the guidance of Garand, Duncan and Mei.
Under the multi-label structure, UMGC will focus on developing new innovative strategies to support the new labels, in order to provide an unprecedented suite of services to China’s rich and diverse musical talent, as part of the world’s leading music entertainment company. Additional labels dedicated to growing music genres within Greater China will be launched in the coming months. All labels under UMGC will work with local digital partners in content licensing and creative marketing, alongside UMG’S global network of platforms and partners to support the growing global popularity of Chinese music around the world. In August 2020, UMG led the industry by entering into landmark content licensing agreements with both Tencent Music Entertainment Group and NetEase Cloud Music – two of the largest domestic music streaming services in China and, in recent years, UMGC has worked with major digital partners across the region to ensure UMGC artists are available to fans throughout Greater China, Southeast Asia and beyond.
UMGC’s all-star artists roster also includes some of China’s most acclaimed artist talent including: Jacky Cheung(張學友), Eason Chan(陳奕迅), Yanzi Sun(孫燕姿), Qing Feng Wu(吳青峰),Wu Bai(伍佰), Cyndi Wang(王心凌) and Van Ness Wu(吴建豪).
This year, UMGC will have new releases from Guo Ding(郭顶), Tanya Chua(蔡健雅),Li Nong Chen(陈立农), Sunnee（杨芸晴）, Oaeen(鱼丁糸) , Nick Chou(周湯豪) amongst others.
UMGC operates offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Taipei and Hong Kong.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company.