Friday, February 11, 2011

Digital Matters 2011 Launches In Singapore In Association With Music Matters And CASBAA

Branded Ltd. today announced the launch of Digital Matters 2011, Asia's first regional forum focusing exclusively on the monetisation of online video content.

Presented in association with Music Matters and CASBAA, Digital Matters 2011 is the symposium for showcasing online innovation, sharing success stories and collaborating with new partners for new business models. The programme incorporates the digital entertainment vertical markets of movies, television, video gaming and advertising.

Mr. Jasper Donat, Co-Founder of Branded and President of Music Matters said, "The battle to dominate in Asian online entertainment is in a dynamic period, with new media players challenging established media might and content providers seizing new online opportunities. The timing to launch Digital Matters couldn't be better."

Digital Matters is being produced in association with CASBAA, the industry body for digital multichannel television, content, platforms, advertising and video delivery across Asia. "The rollout of Digital Matters with our partner Branded fits well with CASBAA's long-term commitment to digital content development and digital distribution across the region," Marcel Fenez, Chairman of CASBAA and Global Leader, Entertainment & Media Practice, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The Asian online entertainment revolution will be discussed by the diverse companies that are shaping the future of the online entertainment ecosystem - including content owners, content creators, brand owners, digital marketing mavericks, social media gurus, gaming heroes, online service providers, and digital advertising front runners.

"Digital entertainment leaders often reference the impact of digital on the music industry as the genesis of the digital entertainment revolution. The co-located Digital Matters and Music Matters conferences give Asian music and video entertainment professionals more opportunity to connect through content," Mr. Donat continued.

Now in its sixth year, Music Matters is the leading event for key players in the music industry to discuss the business of music. Music Matters 2011 has comprehensive music industry support from across the value chain, including Asian artists, digital music distributors, music labels, promoters and digital music service providers.

Digital Matters 24 - 25 May 2011
Music Matters 26 - 27 May 2011
Music Matters Live 26 - 28 May 2011


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Queen Sea Big Shark (Beijing) & Aphasia (Taipei) Head To SXSW

Modern Sky's Queen Sea Big Shark will be making a comeback to the States - since their 2009 "Sing for China Tour" - via digital distributor IODA's Annual Opening Day Bash at the upcoming South by Southwest Conference and Festival (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. Formed in 2005, the dance-rock/electro band is one of the veteran's from the Beijing indie scene that have been featured in major campaigns by Converse, Diesel, and Dell Computers.

Joining them from Asia is Taiwan's Aphasia. One of the most established bands in Taiwan's indie rock scene, Aphasia's latest album takes the listener on a sonic walk through the day in the life of a Taipei resident.

You can download tracks from both bands courtesy of IODA at

No Badges or Wristbands Required -- Free to the Public
Where: Emo's Annex, 603 Red River (corner of 6th & Red River), Austin, TX
When: Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 Time: 12 - 6 pm
12:45 pm: Queen Sea Big Shark (Modern Sky) -- Beijing
2:30 pm: Aphasia (White Wabbit) -- Taipei, Taiwan

"Triple Ripple," An Experimental Play With The Bleak Contrasts Between Jazz And Rock

Progressive Jazz Fusion artist Anders Helmerson has released the title track, "Triple Ripple" from his third and groundbreaking new CD, available for purchase at iTunes.

"Triple Ripple" is no ordinary song according to Helmerson. As well as being the main track from the album, "Triple Ripple" is a combination of three songs all merged into one. "This particular track has more of a rock flavor to it than any other on the CD. It's a form of experimental play with the bleak contrasts between jazz and rock. The key was striking a balance between the two. The first part is an overture that builds up to a dramatic crescendo, while the second part transitions into the part three, which is the main theme of the song. Part three starts with a Rush inspired hard rock type of melody that gives the song a solid spine as more jazzy parts begin to evolve, and it continues to toggle between Jazz and rock."

He continued, "Triple Ripple" is a demonstration of the world's most spectacular drummer Marco Minneman and his ability to make it all sounds easy and fluent. But the fact is, what he is doing here, nobody else could do. Marco was recently touted to be the natural replacement for Mike Portnoy in Dream Theatre, but I am keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that he'll choose to stay with me."

The Anders Electric Jazz Rock sound delivers an eleven minute expansion piece with Triple Ripple, which has majestic classic synth sounds. The mix is bright and the bell tones have a serious tone. The first section features two ideas that show the flexibility of the band with harmony and time figures. The breakdown features all keys playing in triple meter with synth choral textures and flickering arpeggiated lines. The composition sets up for an extensive analog synth solo. The bass and the drums are all exceptional and keep up with an exhaustive range of breakdowns and accented hits throughout. This is serious electronic jazz rock!

"Helmerson lets his creativity take him to new heights which ultimately resulted in him creating his own genre of music which he dubs Progressive Fusion; a combination of long songs with virtuosos performed in complicated time signatures, elaborate melodies and harmonies that are built on pentatonic scales that are neither major nor minor. This musical mastermind fuses jazz and rock to create a sound that amazes listeners with the power of superior technique and great composing." MusicDish

Born in Sweden in February 1959, Anders Helmerson has had a life-long love affair with music. In the 1970's, Helmerson played in various short-lived bands and studied classical music in Denmark and Sweden, all the while becoming more and more interested in synthesizers and progressive rock. Helmerson completed his debut album, "The End of Illusion," in 1981. The album's lack of success caused him to turn his back on music for the next several years. He worked as a surgeon in Copenhagen, a GP in Norway and a ship's doctor on a cruise-ship, eventually discovering Rio de Janeiro, the catalyst for his return to music. In early 2002, Helmerson release his second album, "Fields Of Inertia" on the Brazilian label, Som Interior Productions.

MIDEM 2011 Recap: Classical Music Out, Taiwan Music In

Estimating numbers as to how much attendance at MIDEM has decreased over the prior year has become something of a ritual. In this respect, MIDEM has become something of a barometer for the recorded music industry and the news is not good. Official attendance numbers released by conference organizer ReedMIDEM were 6,800, down 5%. For anyone who hadn't been to MIDEM for a few years, they would barely be able to recognize it for all the sections of the Palais now off-limits (including our old Press Club, much to my chagrin).

Having said that, there are bright spots. MIDEM welcomed a record number of music managers (150) as well as significant increases in attending publishers (+25%) and digital/tech companies (+29%) - trends that certainly reflect some of the growth sectors in the industry. Also, 33% of 2011 attendees were newbies, ie., first timers, indicating that there are still new players, new ideas, and people who are still willing to take their chances with music . Considering our particular economic circumstances, one might wonder why.

Perhaps the biggest casualty was classical music. A few years ago, half the Riviera section of the Palais would be occupied by European music companies in the genre and I'd look forward to my chance encounter with someone from that world for a casual update on new developments. Those days are firmly over... which made an article in MIDEM NEWS #2 entitled, "Can Classical Music Lead Industry Back To Black?" all the more ironic. If "the classical music industry in the recovery room" means their disappearance from MIDEM, they'd better hope that the recording music business remains "in the operating theater" for at least a few more years.

All jokes aside, that's the quantitative perspective, but what about the qualitative one? My unscientific, not-so random survey was pretty unanimous: despite the lower attendance, this was the best MIDEM in a long time. Meetings were productive and focused. People knew exactly why they were there and what they wanted. I might add that this was a more cozy MIDEM, much less stressful and hectic. If you want to do business, then you want to attend MIDEM!

from left to right: Zorro Xu (China Music Industry Park), Jean Hsiao Wernheim (a-Peer), Wang Ju (CAVA) and Bill Zang (SSCEG)

Another thing that was noticeable is that the Chinese delegation was there in body as well as spirit. Every year, China sets up a booth that is attended by literally no one. You'd think there was an annual sale at Channel! Well, thanks to a-peer's Jean Hsiao Wernheim, this year was markedly different... and for that, MusicDish*China thanks you!

Buzzing like bumblebees at Taiwan Pavilion

But the star of the show for Asia was definitely Taiwan. You could call it their coming out party with a nice showcase lineup, a largely mobbed booth and exquisite Fo Guang Shan Musical compilation boxset of buddhist choir music (xie xie Cheh Yan). I do generally agree with Peter Jenner's assessment of the showcasing Taiwanese bands. And despite taking a particularly liking for Deserts & Algae, they do suffer from "so many wonderful female singer/songwriters and her Chinese-ness is not of much relevance to her music." But looking for the big overseas hit is not the angle I'd take.

Instead, I'd focus on universities with high concentration of Chinese students. With the support of Taiwan's government, bring bands like Deserts & Algae to NACA (National Association for Campus Activities) regional conferences and coordinate with Chinese and Asian student associations in cities with high concentration of colleges like Toronto, Boston, L.A.,... and supplement with selected club gigs.

Empower the student community with a strong social media campaign, supported by loads of content to share in order to connect with the non-Chinese student body. And of course, don't forget ethnic print, radio and TV that are some of the fastest growing media segments. At the same time, have the bands progressively collaborate with American bands, both on the live circuit and recording studio. What anime and comic conventions did for Japanese music, the college circuit could well serve bands like Desert & Algae to build a nation-wide, niche fanbase while introducing them to college kids, eventually percolating to the mainstream. It won't happen overnight, but nor did JPop.

Taiwan Delegation wishes MIDEM "Gambei!"

Taiwan's invigorated presence at MIDEM reflects the government's focus on developing its successful music industry beyond mainland China and Asia, while learning from various experiences worldwide to tackling piracy and developing new models to monetize music. This is a relatively new and encouraging development occurring across East Asia as countries look to non-economic and technological assets to help compete in the global marketplace, particularly with the rise of China. Whether it's local and provincial governments in China or national ones in Singapore and Taiwan, intangible assets such as the environment and culture are attracting their attention, support and resources.

It Ain't Just Business & Meetings

Many make the mistake of assuming that MIDEM is all business, all meetings. Well, to some extent that is true. It's just that some business is conducted more formally while other business is done amongst friends. Like celebrating Dancing City Entertainment's Jean Singgellos' birthday in what can only be described as the most festive of moods (it helps when the wine keeps flowing). For Bob Damiano sitting next to me, that was his 44th MIDEM (2011 was MIDEM's 45th anniversary). He was there from day one and could (should) be considered a MIDEM griot (ie., storyteller). And I had the pleasure to meet singer-songwriter Serge Gauya, with his manager Lisbeth Ramirez, who has been tearing up markets as diverse as Switzerland, Miami, Ecuador and Moraco with his multi-lingual pop sounds And least I forget Michel Häusermann who actually reunited Jean and myself for such a special occasion - you can read the passion for what he does in that ever-present smile.

Maya Solovery & Champagne

Every year, I try to learn from the last MIDEM while doing something to push the envelope. In 2011, the envelope was a private cocktail I hosted with Jean Sebastien Vaudey from Cristal Groupe. We hosted the event in our apartment, just a few blocks from the Palais on rue Mace, with Maya Solovey performing from her self-titled album with Grammy award-winning producer Bob Brockman on bass... and enough champagne for everyone there. The intimate setting in the middle of the usually hectic conference seemed to lend itself particularly well to Maya's soothing voice that seemed to leave the audience enthralled...literally, not a peep!

The verdict? You're all invited to the 2nd annual MusicDish/Cristal Groupe cocktail party in 2012!

Finally, some interesting news out of MIDEM:

* For those formenting rumors that MIDEM is shutting down, they are actually presenting with Berklee the Rethink Music Conference, in association with Harvard University's Berkman Center and Business School. The inaugural conference to be held in Boston and Cambridge, MA, April 25-27, 2011.

* After a worrying decline in 2008, CISAC reported that royalty collections by authors' societies were up a modest 1.7% in 2009, totalling €7.152 billion - read more.

* The news was bolstered by the first estimate of SACEM collections for 2010 is €803.5m, up 5.4%, the first increase after years of stagnation - read more.

* Beatport signed the first-ever Pan-European digital publishing licence with the ARMONIA group of societies - including SACEM (for France), SIAE (for Italy) and SGAE (for Spain and Portugal's SPA) - read more

* Finally and unsurprisingly, talk on the MIDEM exhibition floor was about the growth of cloud-based digital services which allow users to access music on different devices via a remote server rather than downloading it onto a computer.

By Eric de Fontenay

More on this article at

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tony Adamo's What Is Hip

The recording of the song "What is Hip" on singer/songwriter, Tony Adamo's new CD (entitled WHAT IS HIP) came from a suggestion made by the legendary horn player and Tower of Power co-founder, Stephen "Doc" Kupka. During a recording session with Adamo and his producer/guitarist, Jerry Stucker, "Doc" suggested several TOP songs Adamo might want to cover. Adamo choose "What is Hip" and "This Time it's Real." Kupka, along with jazz great, Eddie Henderson hold up the horn section on "Hip." In the re-grooved "This Time It's Real," Mic Gillette, funk icon in his own right, wrote the horn arrangement and plays (trumpet & trombone) along with TOP horn member, Tom E. Poltzer (tenor sax). Poltzer plays lead solo with "Doc" Kupka on bari sax.
Talk about a kool struttin' and soul funkin' sound. Adamo is deep in the groove on these two Tower of Power hits. Producer/guitarist, Jerry Stucker loaded up the WHAT IS HIP CD with big city cool. Some of these great players include: Mike Clark (drums), Steve Gadd (drums), James Gadson (drums), Reggie McBride (bass), Richie Goods (bass), Freddie Washington (bass), Bill Summers (percussion), Robert Quintana (percussion), Blackbyrd McNight (guitar), Jerry Stucker (guitar), Neil Larsen (organ/piano), Rodney Franklin (piano), Melecio Magdaluyo (tenor sax/flute), Henry Hung (trumpet/trombone), and Sandy Griffith (background vocals).
Can you dig Adamo's new conception of voice n' funk with an infectious slice of soul? Get hip to WHAT IS HIP and be "souled" on the thirteen songs on his new CD.
WHAT IS HIP MP3's are now available on CDBABY and hard copies will be available at and CDBABY soon. will add songs into radio play