Universal Music Publishing China Inks Partnership Deal With Beijing’s Ryce Publishing: ‘The Time of C-Pop Is Here’

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(l to r) UMP China MD Joe Fang, Ryce founder and CEO Daryl K, and UMPG president of Asia Pacific Andrew Jenkins. Photo Credit: Universal Music Publishing Group

Universal Music Group (UMG) has taken another step towards expanding its market presence in China, this time by inking a deal with Beijing’s Ryce Publishing.

UMG’s publishing division just recently unveiled the tie-up, which was executed via Universal Music Publishing China (UMP China). The latter opened a Shanghai office about one year back, and the overarching Ryce Entertainment (including the aforesaid publishing unit) encompasses “music production, artists’ agency, marketing, investment and brand operation” divisions.

Additionally, Ryce Entertainment ostensibly boasts a “world-class professional production and management team,” besides an “abundant music catalogue and media resources.” Specifically on the publishing side, Ryce’s roughly 700-track catalog is said to feature works from high-profile China-based acts such as TFBoys (which has released a rendition of “We Are the Heirs of Communism”) and ZTAO.

And under the newly finalized agreement, UMP China is poised to “exclusively lead global administration responsibilities for some of the country’s all-time best-sellers,” according to the involved parties, on top of providing “global infrastructure and opportunities for RYCE’s writers and artists to reach new audiences around the world.”

UMP China likewise intends to expand Ryce’s “roster of songwriters and producers, and the projects available to them,” in the approaching months and years. Plus, with Universal Music proper having partnered with BTS agency Hybe to create K-pop groups, Ryce and UMP China expect “to continually promote and amplify K-pop music culture in the Greater China markets,” execs disclosed.

Several higher-ups commented on the pact in statements, but the most interesting remarks seem to have come from Universal Music Publishing China MD Joe Fang, who acknowledged K-pop’s growth in recent years before making clear his belief that “the time of C-pop is here.”

“We saw the rise of J-pop three decades ago and its massive influence on audiences across Asia. Now K-pop is a global phenomenon as we all know, and there has been a very key bridging force between these genres in the last two decades,” said the nearly four-year UMP China team member Fang.

“With China rising to become the sixth biggest music market of the world, I believe the time of C-pop is here. RYCE Publishing, with its hybrid talents and border-crossing catalogs, is a central piece of that next bridging force and I’m thrilled that UMPG will play an instrumental role in supporting these future chapters of music history,” he finished.

In September, UMG China scored a partnership with Buick (including a “brand-inspired” song), and Taylor Swift’s Midnights, despite being the priciest digital album on Tencent’s QQ Music to date, has sold north of 300,000 copies to the platform’s users at $4.83 or so a pop.