From Britney to Brit pop to Beijing

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Stuart Watson, the music industry veteran who helped to launch Britney Spears, has been hired by the Government to promote British pop music in China.

Stuart Watson, the music industry veteran who helped to launch Britney Spears, has been hired by the Government to promote British pop music in China.

The former managing director of the Zomba record label will head a newly created office in Beijing, partly funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). UK Music Services will act as a point of contact for independent UK music companies wanting to break acts in China. The Government is keen to promote the UK's music industry and believes that China is relatively untapped by new Western acts.

Mr Watson said: "China has huge potential, but it is a very different market to Britain. Because of high levels of piracy, CD revenues are minuscule, so the money is made from live performances and merchandising. The normal attendance at a live concert can be 100,000 people. So acts wanting to make it in China need to do more than tour once a year and do the hand shaking."

But he added that the strict system of censorship and government control in China means that picking the right acts is crucial. "Simple, ballad-oriented pop music" would be appropriate, he said.

Ian Pearson, the new trade minister, said: "The British music industry's huge talent must compete on the international stage and there is no market growing faster than China. The British music industry already employs 130,000 people and earns over £1bn in exports - a mere taste of what it can achieve with the right help in a fast-changing global economy."

The Beijing office will be funded by UK Trade and Investment, a unit of the DTI; the Association of Independent Music; and SWAT Enterprises, Mr Watson's private music consultancy. Mr Watson also helped Backstreet Boys and Justin Timberlake to inter- national success.

Comments