Unlike the U.S., where copyright conundrums abound, China has a chance to create a music industry with a completely fresh approach to copyright consumption. I was recently invited to join the American delegation attending the International Creative Industries Summit in Shanghai, China. The intensive two-day summit, which occurred April 21-22, 2009, was poised to be a historic event to witness. For me, it was rife with irony and provided a fascinating contrast to the “established” western music industry.
For perspective, one only needs to study the rise of the Shanghai skyline to understand the marked difference between its humble past and burgeoning future. As recent as the 90’s, the Huang Po River, which dissects downtown Shanghai, wasn’t much more than the embankment of a shantytown; whereas today, Shanghai boasts skyscrapers that rival anything Manhattan has to offer.
Similarly, the would-be music industry we were there to help shape, could have the same kind of meteoric rise. In fact, it could quickly become the largest music market in the world. After all, it has nowhere to go but up, and China itself is the world’s largest start up.
I was among a handful of digital media and traditional music industry experts who came to listen to, and help steer, the first steps of a Chinese music industry where, despite…