After Universal Music Group completed the $3.4bn sale of 10% in its company to a consortium led by Tencent Holdings in March, UMG parent Vivendi expressed its hope that the music company’s new investor could bring “growth opportunities in China, one of the largest music markets in the world”.
Today (May 12), Universal made its first major move in China since that Tencent deal was finalized.
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) has appointed Joe Fang as its first ever Managing Director, China, effective immediately. Based in Beijing, Fang reports to Andrew Jenkins, President, Australia and Asia Pacific Region, UMPG.
Fang is tasked with developing UMPG China at its new headquarters in Beijing, overseeing business strategy and the growth of the company’s Chinese language roster. He will additionally lead the development of UMPG Hong Kong.
UMPG COO Marc Cimino said: “Continuing with our efforts to be best-in-class around the world, we have put a strong and strategic emphasis on UMPG’s growth in China. There is no one better suited to accomplish that than Joe Fang who is leading us in what has become a very exciting territory for our songwriters.”
Discussing the appointment of Fang, Cimino continued: “From the first moment we met Joe, it was clear that his leadership abilities, integrity, ambition and passion for music were qualities that fit perfectly with the culture we have at UMPG. We are thrilled to have Joe leading our business in China and look forward to the many accomplishments that he will achieve with his team.”
“Continuing with our efforts to be best-in-class around the world, we have put a strong and strategic emphasis on UMPG’s growth in China. There is no one better suited to accomplish that than Joe Fang.”
Marc Cimino, UMPG
Said Fang: “I am from a music family but never imagined having the incredible opportunity of working for Universal Music Publishing. Since I’ve taken the job, I’ve seen so much excitement in the eyes of local musicians and songwriters after they really understood what a true music publisher can do for them. China needs UMPG, just as UMPG needs China.”
Fang continued: “I am thankful to have Andrew Jenkins’ guidance as my mentor along the way. We are proud to be led by [UMPG Chairman and CEO] Jody Gerson, a true aspiration for me and my team, and Marc Cimino who provides incredible support and trust.”
In line with the “strategic emphasis” on China mentioned by Cimino, UMPG recently joined the Music Copyright Society of China (MCSC). The publisher says it is now working with MCSC on initiatives in China including: (i) Supporting local songwriters and “helping them achieve their greatest creative and commercial potential”; (ii) protecting intellectual property rights; (iii) maximizing the value of musical works; and (iv) providing songwriters with transparent and timely royalty distribution systems.
UMPG said today that it is also “deepening its cooperation with Chinese DSPs, tech companies and content providers”, in order to “foster a healthy music copyright environment in China”.
(Interesting side-note: As part of Tencent’s consortium-associated deal to buy 10% of UMG in March, subsidiary Tencent Music Entertainment also obtained the option to acquire a minority of share capital in UMG’s Greater China business.)
Joe Fang most recently served as Head of Production at BASE FX, which bills itself as “the leading visual effect and animation studio in Asia”.
In this role, Fang led a team of creative executives and producers, locating and developing IP before helping build it into premium content for both the US and China.
Prior to his time at BASE FX, Fang served as Chief Business Director of Media, China Fortune Land Development where he led global business strategy for new media and built commercial relationships within the media industry.
Fang has also served in director, producer and consulting roles for studios and production companies including: Pinewood Studios (UK), National Film Capital (CN) where he oversaw Chinese superhero films with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment, and Five Star Media/The Travel Channel (CN).
During the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Fang worked at Beijing Olympic Broadcast as Chief Post Director, creating live content for stadiums and arenas.
According to Vivendi’s annual results, Universal Music Publishing Group generated €1.052bn ($1.181bn) in 2019, up 9.2% YoY in organic growth terms.Music Business Worldwide