Chinese music chart to boost the industry

A top online streaming video site's executive believes that establishing an official music chart can help China become the No.1 music market in the world.

Zhang Dou, the founder and CEO of Yinyuetai.com, said he is optimistic when it comes to music industry development though many have said the industry is going downward. "I can predict that China can sell more than 100 million records a year in five years, and become the biggest music market," he said.

Zhang's surprising remarks stunned attendees at a press conference in Beijing on Saturday as China currently sells only 3 to 4 million copies a year. But the executive is confident. "It's simple. Now, album sales have substantially changed in China, from consumption of content to consumption of emotion, and from public consumption to fan-driven consumption," he said.

For example, "in Japan, the market sold more than 120 million records in 2015, 85 percent are bought by fans," Zhang continued, "They buy albums not just for listening but also for supporting their idols. And Japan's Oricon charts let the fans engage in competitive rivalry for their idols, some fan even bought hundreds of records at one time to support their idols."

His stirring predictions also asserted that China's concert ticket prices will be lowered by 50 percent, that only the fans' economic input can save the music industry and that musicians cannot make a good industry.

The executive explained that there are so many problems that cannot be worked out in sensibility and many musicians only have music in their mind, ignoring music consumers' needs and commercial elements.

Zhang and Yinyuetai.com have seen what fans can do and how big the "fan economy" can be from the phenomenal success of a number of new generation idols such Lu Han and TFboys. Therefore, a definitive music chart can help fans track the success of their favorite artists and make competitive and inflammatory references for fans who will economically wrestle for idols which will benefit the whole industry.

Jonathan Serbin, head of Asia for Billboard, echoed Zhang's vision. He explained how Billboard evolved all through the years from one chart launched in 1957 to now having over 250 charts, eventually adding social media statistics to the charts. "In the future, we should still follow the fans and understand how they consume music."

"The developed music markets in the world all have their own authoritative music charts, such as America's Billboard, the UK's official music charts, Japan's Oricon and South Korea's GAON," Zhang said. "But in China, every music platform has its own chart and will not use other platforms' data. We lack a definitive music chart which is universally recognized. The divided status can only result in huge internal friction which will ultimately hurt fans and users' experiences and will not help build a dynamic mechanism for China's music market."

He appealed to all the Chinese music platforms, including his rivals, to unite and join him to establish a credible, transparent and objective music chart. At the press conference on Saturday, he has already had representatives from America's Billboard Magazine, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Universal Music Group, Starsing Disc and the audio and visual department of the China National Publications Import & Export (Group) Corporation on his side to establish a preliminary Chinese Album Chart.

Yinyuetai.com, the biggest Chinese music video site with high-quality streaming and 20 million registered members, has previously collaborated with Billboard to set up Billboard's China chart, joining the Billboard international charts including both Japan and Brazil's charts. The Billboard Hot 100 chart will be published on the Yinyuetai platform.

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