COWBELLS FOR CHINA

Written on the 8 April 2010 by Tom Reid

COWBELLS FOR CHINA

A BURLEIGH Heads independent record label has become the first in the western world to successfully launch into the heavily regulated Chinese digital music distribution market.

Cowbell Digital Music has established a Chinese government-approved website for the online buying and downloading of a variety of artists as well as an office in the Shandong province.

The Chinese website was launched in February and is based on the same model operating Cowbell’s worldwide distribution since October 2009.

In addition to a catalogue of 12 ‘direct artists’ that includes Duran Duran guitarist Dom Brown, the label has signed partnerships with more than 30 independent and major labels with MGM Distribution.

The MGM partnership was established following unsuccessful attempts by the distribution giant to break through China’s cultural filtering systems and has added high profile Australian acts Sneaky Sound System and the John Butler Trio to Cowbell’s repertoire.

“I had a discussion with Sebastian Chase (MGM CEO) and he told me he’s been trying to get into China for 10 years, but every time he’s got something the rules change and he gets shut down,” says Cowbell CEO Shayne Locke.

“He said ‘really you’re our competition to a certain degree, how can we work with you’? The day we launched our new website in China was the day he called and said ‘we’re ready to go with material’.”

Cowbell was established in March 2009 by Locke, Andy Browne (chief operating officer) and well known Gold Coast restaurateurs Michelle and Glen Day. The business name is derived from a Saturday Night Live comedic skit featuring actors Will Ferrell and Christopher Walken.

The Days, who own three Aztec restaurants and Surfers Paradise Montezuma’s, were looking for a better way to support the music career of daughter Jess Day who recently recorded tracks with successful UK dance/trance duo Dreamcatcher.

Explaining the Cowbell model in more detail, Locke says the company acts as a ‘retail portal’ for labels and independent artists looking for support worldwide.

“The basis of it was ‘let’s get other labels to benefit from the digital distribution platform we’ve created’,” he says.

“Partner labels come on to the worldwide platform and act as a distribution point for their material.

"The agreement with MGM is a two way agreement in that they act as a retail distributor for our hard product (CD s) which includes their distribution points in the US and the UK.”

Cowbell’s direct artists benefit from an online store set up on their own websites.

This complements the collective store on the Cowbell website, but the ultimate advantage is that the Gold Coast company assumes absolutely no copyright ownership of any material it’s distributing.

“We upload material under our collapsible copyright system so we don’t own any copyright – more provide a service,” says Locke.

“So rather than us saying, ‘hey you release this track’, we basically go into a partnership with the artist and any marketing, track releases and promotional material we work on in a consultancy role. That’s how we’ve focused on our artists and we could never have secured the likes of Dom Brown without that policy.”

While Locke says it is still ‘early days’ in assessing the success of Cowbell’s global and Chinese operations, the move is making serious waves in a largely untapped industry.

“The most important point is this whole thing is that there is no other western label on the ground in China at this point,” says Locke.

“The day after the Chinese launch was announced I received an email from the biggest digital distribution company in China who contacted me to say ‘we think we need to work together as we see you as competition’.”


Author: Tom Reid

Latest News

HARVEY NORMAN HITS OUT AT 'FALSE NEWS' OF ASIC INVESTIGATION

RETAIL giant Harvey Norman (ASX: HVN) has vehemently rejected reports its accounts are under investigation by ASIC, s...

RARE GOOD NEWS FOR SLATER AND GORDON AS ASIC CLOSES INVESTIGATION

ASIC has cleared Slater and Gordon of deliberately falsifying its accounts after a three-month investigation.

It s...

ADELAIDE DIGITAL MARKETING GURUS CHANGING THE FACE OF ONLINE RETAILING

Frank Grasso, CEO of Adelaide based Dynamic Creative, believes his company's new software will revolutionise Adwo...

Q & A WITH FACEBOOK GURU ANDY MCKEON AS HE JOINS AUSTRALIAN SOFTWARE COMPANY LIVETILES

HE was creative director at Apple under the legendary Steve Jobs, and is now a senior Facebook executive. In his n...

Related News

RAY OF HOPE FOR SLATER AND GORDON AS LENDERS STEP IN

EMBATTLED law firm Slater and Gordon (ASX: SGH) has announced to the ASX that it has launched confidential discussion...

SPROUTX PROVIDES THE SEED FOR AGTECH STARTUPS

AGTECH innovation fund SproutX has opened applications for its first accelerator round, backed by $10 million from...

GAS PRICES MAY FORCE BRICKWORKS TO TAKE MANUFACTURING OVERSEAS

BRICKWORKS Limited (ASX:BKW) chairman Robert Millner says soaring energy prices may force the company to turn to offs...

CHINA CONTINUES TO COLLECT AUSSIE PROPERTY ASSETS

CHINESE coin continues to dominate Australia's offshore real estate investment market, accounting for almost h...

EVENTS COMING UP

 

Contact us

Email News Update Sign Up Contact Details
Subscriptions

PO Box 2087
Brisbane QLD 4001

LoginTell a FriendSign Up to Newsletter