Backbeat: Indies Go To China: A2IM’s Trade Mission To Shanghai

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(from Billboard Magazine, October 1, 2012) Over fifteen music companies have traveled to Shanghai in September this year with the A2IM, or The American Association of Independent Music. Some of these representatives include Ultra Records, VP Records, and Entertainment One. The group had also traveled to places such as Seoul, South Korea, and Hong Kong. Their reasoning for traveling to China was to meet with the Chinese music industry. This organization was the first one ever to initiate government trade with the Chinese for this particular industry.

Once the United States had decided to reach out to those in China, they came up with a budget of $200,000. Most of this funding came from Tennessee’s Department of Economic and Community Development’s TnTrade program, the New York Empire State Development Corp, and the federal Small Business Administration. The A2IM contributed $32,000 to towards this as well. The Obama Administration was also a part of this endeavor in order to do business with up and coming markets. Since China’s market is growing quickly, the United States made the decision to present what they had to the Chinese.

China had recently passed a new law involving rights from record labels to radio broadcasters. This has been a long-term issue with trade relations in China. The law states that when a radio station, TV, or other public places are playing music from a record label, they are required to pay that record label for the music. A reporter from The Legal Daily, which is China’s newspaper focused on the politics and law, states that these are now international standard.

Rich Bengloff, of A2IM, was responsible for leading the U.S. and Chinese companies into the China Music Industry Park in Shanghai. He was also responsible for meetings between the U.S. and China to make sure they were running smoothly. Seymour Stein, of Blue Horizon records, was also present at these meetings. The Chinese were anxious to have meetings with him in order to discuss the future of the Chinese market. Robert Singerman, of CMJ and LyricFind says that the music market is currently low, but seeks to improve.