Sony Music Group (SMG) has officially relocated its Southeast Asia headquarters from Hong Kong to Singapore.
Sony Music just recently announced the grand opening of its new Southeast Asia headquarters, and the move arrives amid rapid music industry growth in (and a correspondingly pronounced major-label focus on) Asia, and especially Southeast Asia as well as China.
To be sure, the IFPI yesterday indicated that Asia had achieved a 16.1 percent YoY revenue hike during 2021 as China surpassed South Korea on the list of today’s 10 largest music markets. Moreover, Sony Music’s Southeast Asia pivot comes as Beijing continues to persecute activists and inhibit free speech in Hong Kong.
Execs made clear that their Singapore division will operate as SMG’s “flagship headquarters for Southeast Asia,” encompassing Sony Music Entertainment, Sony Music Publishing, The Orchard, and Sony Interactive Entertainment alike. Additionally, the office is set to “house specialists in pan-regional marketing, data analytics, human resources, finance, digital innovation, business development, A&R, and publicity, focused on Singapore and the wider region,” higher-ups disclosed.
In a statement, SME’s president of corporate strategy and market development for Asia and the Middle East, Shridhar Subramaniam, touted the perceived potential of the quick-growing music industries throughout Asia, population 4.72 billion.
“Asia is a diverse and vibrant region that has become a cultural force to reckon with, boasting some of the best talent and creators in the world,” the more than 25-year Sony Music vet Subramaniam said in part. “Sony Music has a rich history of discovering and supporting some of the most iconic artists and impactful music originating from Asia, and it is fitting that Singapore, a technology, business and arts hub that’s long been considered a gateway to the rest of Asia, is the base for the next stage of our growth.”
Regarding Singapore’s positioning in the contemporary music industry, it bears noting that music-creation company BandLab (which is headquartered in the nation of about six million individuals) completed a $53 million raise in late 2021, whereas Universal Music Group closed a significant licensing pact with Singapore-based TikTok rival Lomotif over the summer.
And in terms of the aforementioned major-label efforts to establish a bolstered presence in Asia – and particularly Southeast Asia – Universal Music Group South East Asia one week ago unveiled a sponsorship deal with Malaysian soccer club Johor Darul Ta’zim F.C. (JDT).
2021 saw UMG take a number of steps to expand its reach in China (now the sixth-largest music market in the world, per the IFPI), with Sony Music having purchased a $100 million stake in the NetEase Cloud Music streaming service.
Meanwhile, Warner Music Group last year rolled out Pan-Asian dance label Whet Records and Asian hip-hop label Asiatic Records (with Indonesia’s Ramengvrl as the first signed act), and Sony Music in March of 2021 debuted OFFMUTE, a “pan-regional label focused on championing new and emerging Southeast Asian talent.”