Forbes - East Goes Global Transports Music Artists Into China’s Booming Multimedia Market
Most music artists today rely on leading international social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to engage directly and build lasting relationships with fans around the globe. Yet government censorship in China, the world’s largest social network market according to Statista, blocks these platforms from reaching the country’s robust multimedia community.
Andrew Spalter, founder of Los Angeles-based East Goes Global social media, branding and DSP/playlisting management agency, is bridging the social gap between Eastern and Western cultures by establishing a presence for music artists across China and other Asian markets. He develops and localizes audiences by building the brands of American, European and UK artists like Will Smith, DJ Snake, Nicky Jam, Omar Apollo, Yungblud and Jessie J on China’s leading platforms including Weibo, Douyin, Xiaohongshu, NetEase Musicand QQ Music, a streaming platform often compared to Spotify.
“If you’re a popular artist on Chinese channels, you’re able to tour and enter branding opportunities and corporate sponsorships…anything that you can imagine here happens there,” Spalter says. “I wanted to completely remove the barrier to entry into this market, and removing that barrier is allowing our business to scale.”
Spalter launched East Goes Global in 2018 after living in China where he worked in music management and entertainment. He has secured nearly 30 million followers to date for some of the top names in music. In conjunction with Universal Music Group, his agency is now launching new social initiatives including a recent QQ Music livestream performance by singer-songwriter Yungblud who generated more than 223,000 viewers despite never touring in China.
“The Chinese market is one of a kind, and the love and support my fans have shown me and continue to show me there is undeniable,” says Grammy-nominated English singer-songwriter Jessie J (“Bang Bang” with Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, 2015), who is one of Spalter’s clients. “East Goes Global captures that energy for me to see and feel, and in return, supports and helps me in finding ways to show them how much love and respect I have for them, too.”
Chinese music streaming services are much more popular than those in America. An “East Goes Global (Andrew Spalter)” Inside Music Podcast released on SoundCloud late last year compared Spotify’s more than 111 million paid monthly users (or about 250 million including free monthly users) to China’s QQ Music at more than 800 million users at the time.
“(China) is a market that is unknown to many people and untapped by even more,” Spalter says. “As the country has come out of piracy and artists are starting to get paid for streams, artists are selling records and digital albums there–it is becoming a top-grossing market within the music industry.”
Statista reports that more than 48% of the Chinese population uses social networks, and China’s social network base was expected to reach 800 million users by 2023. Jessie J. explains that working with East Goes Global is allowing her to maintain a genuine connection with her fans in China, especially now during the pandemic when travel and in-person performances are on pause.
Yet even before the Covid-19 pandemic steered the music industry down a path of deeper digital existence, music artists and fans had already embraced TikTok, the international version of China’s successful short video app Douyin. The successful adoption of this open platform suggests that perhaps the entertainment industry is moving towards a more unified future.
“In today’s digitally connected world, discovery trends and consumption momentum can jump start from anywhere and carry over across different platforms to the home market seemingly overnight,” says Michael Pukownik, senior vice president and head of artist marketing at AWAL music recording company (artists Lauv and Little Simz), who works with Spalter. “From the moment Andrew told me he was launching East Goes Global, I knew he was onto something important that would become a valuable pillar of many artists' global development stories.”
- Andrea Zarczynski