An ecosystem for digital music supports Chinese artists

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-08-05 07:44:59

With three studio albums to his name, singer-songwriter Li Ronghao is preparing for a new album and a nationwide tour this year. However, like many Chinese singer-songwriters, Li, who was born in Bengbu, East China's Anhui province, was struggling to have his music heard a few years ago.

"I wanted to know what people thought of my songs but I couldn't find any listeners, except for people I knew, such as my classmates and neighbors,' recalls Li, aged 32, who started learning guitar at the age of 9 and began writing songs in high school.

However, thanks to the internet, he was able to find his audience and rise from being an unknown indie singer-songwriter to a pop star.

The turning point in his fortunes was in 2014 when his debut album, Model, received four nominations and won the best new singer award at the 25th Golden Melody Awards, which are considered the Grammy Awards for the Mandarin-speaking music scene.

Li shared his story at a recent news conference for the Tencent Indie Musicians Project, a program launched by Tencent Music Entertainment Group, part of China's internet giant Tencent, aimed at supporting Chinese singer-songwriters.

The company has introduced an online platform, which offers a variety of services for new singer-songwriters, including releasing songs, arranging live shows and copyright protection of their material.

"We want to help talented singer-songwriters find a market for their songs while protecting their rights," says Helen Lo, strategic development manager of Tencent Music Entertainment Group.

Tencent Music Entertainment Group was founded in July last year as a leading online music service company in China, with the merger of three major online music streaming providers, QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo.

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