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A singer's cup is full

Updated: 2012-12-28 13:37
By Chen Nan ( China Daily)
A singer's cup is full

Singer-songwriter Li Jian says his music appeals to a narrow audience, though his song Lengend, which was performed by pop diva Faye Wong in 2010, became an instant hit. [Photo by Zou Hong/China Daily]

A top record label hopes its latest signing will help change traffic patterns in music, launching more mainland stars into the rest of Asia instead of the other way around, Chen Nan reports.

When singer-songwriter Li Jian's contract was due to expire, he had at least eight record companies offering him new contracts.

Li, 38, had risen to fame in 2001 as a member of popular duo Shui Mu Mian Hua, a partnership with his Tsinghua University schoolmate Lu Gengxu.

Li finally chose Wonderful Music, a music label launched by Rock Records, Asia's largest independent record company. The biggest lure was the Taiwan-based company's experience in doing digital music and online promotion.

With the Internet transforming how people buy and listen to songs, musicians need to act to claim digital music's future, Li said after he signed his contract at a recent press conference in Beijing.

"I still have the habit of buying CDs, but I also find that I am a user of digital music," says Li, who has released 10 albums with hits such as Legend and Life With You. "New media and technology also help singer-songwriters promote their musical ideas in a variety of new ways."

Digital music sales in recent years have given the recording industry optimism in the face of crumbling CD sales, according to Pamela Wang, president of Wonderful Music. She says that digital music creates nearly 40 percent of a record company's revenue in China. The number is higher in the West.

The first thing on Li's new agenda: cooperating with a symphony orchestra to remake some of his old songs, which are not widely popular among fans.

He watched his longtime idol Sting perform in Taipei early this year, and the American singer-songwriter's 2009 album, If on a Winter's Night, inspired Li to do a crossover album.

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