Universal Music Vietnam opens for business, signing Phùng Khánh Linh as its first artist

L-R: Lam Thoi Dai (Founder - Times Records), Judy Nguyen (Senior Business Development Executive, UMV), Phùng Khánh Linh (Artist), Lan Khanh Phung (GM, UMV), Nido Nguyen (Marketing Manager, UMV), Tram Nguyen (Marketing Executive, UMV), Pham Anh Phu (Co-founder – Times Records).

Universal Music Group has opened its new office in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – marking the official arrival of Universal Music Vietnam (UMV).

The office is being led by Lan Khanh Phung, General Manager, Universal Music Vietnam.

The launch of UMG’s operations in Vietnam was initially announced in September 2019 at Music Matters in Singapore by Adam Granite, EVP, Market Development and Calvin Wong, CEO, Universal Music Southeast Asia & Senior Vice President, Asia.

Speaking on the launch and signing, Calvin Wong said, “This is exciting start for our new division in Vietnam, which is a rapidly developing digital market and home to many talented local artists and musicians. We look forward to further expanding our roster under Lan Khanh Phung’s leadership, helping to boost the local ecosystem and providing support both across Southeast Asia and globally through UMG’s unrivalled network of companies around the world.”

Vietnam, which has a population of over 95m people, has garnered a fair amount of music industry attention in recent years, especially since Spotify launched in the territory in 2018.

UMV’s first artist is Vietnamese pop artist Phùng Khánh Linh, who the firm has signed in partnership with local independent label Times Records (Hãng Đĩa Thời Đại).

Universal says the deal “marks the beginning of a new collaborative relationship between the two companies”.

Phùng Khánh Linh found success as a contestant on The Voice Vietnam TV series in 2015. Her 2018 single Hôm Nay Tôi Buồn has received more than 250 million streams across all platforms and more than 65 million views on her official YouTube channel.

Her new single World Without You (Thế Giới Không Anh), was released today (July 31), alongside an accompanying music video. The track is taken from her forthcoming album, which will be released later this year.

“This is exciting start for our new division in Vietnam, which is a rapidly developing digital market and home to many talented local artists and musicians.”

Calvin Wong, Universal Music Group

In making the announcement, Phùng Khánh Linh said, “I am astonished, delighted and extremely excited to become the first artist to sign with Universal Music Vietnam – a company that manages numerous top global artists that I am in love with and in awe of. I hope that the partnership between Times Records and Universal Music Vietnam will enable my music to reach the hearts of audiences around the world.”

Lam Thoi Dai, Times Records said, “Phùng Khánh Linh makes delicate and creative music and ‘Word Without You’ marks another bold chapter in her musical development. She has the potential to become the next breakthrough artist for a new generation of V-pop.

“This collaboration between Times Records and UMV, will serve to open up new opportunities for cooperation for both Phùng Khánh Linh and our other artists on Times Records, and hopefully many new opportunities to build success and awareness around the world in the future.”

Universal’s launch in Vietnam is the latest in an aggressive global expansion of the company in recent months.

In the past month, we’ve seen Universal launch its TuneCore rival Spinnup in Japan, as well as expanding its team in MENA by opening local HQs in Morocco and Israel, while UMG-owned distribution company Ingrooves has continued its own rapid global expansion by arriving in Turkey.

Elsewhere, amongst other key international moves, Universal has this year struck a partnership with Nigeria’s Aristokrat – adding to UMG’s own presence in the market – and launched Def Jam Africa, following the launch of Def Jam South East Asia in September 2019.

The company has also just launched Island Records in the Philippines.Music Business Worldwide