New $100m-backed fund launched to buy catalogs in Asia, led by industry veteran Chee Meng Tan and former Universal Music China general manager Garand Wu

To date, the major players in the global music rights acquisition space are primarily based in the United States and Europe.

But in Asia, new funds with large capitals have started to make noise in recent months.

In June, for example, Seoul-based Beyond Music, which claims to be from Asia the largest music intellectual property asset management company, has established plans “to conquer the global music intellectual property market”. The company said it expects to have 1 trillion South Korea Won ($800 million) of assets under management by the end of this year.

Today MBW can reveal that a new Asia-focused fund has just entered the space and is launching with an initial raise of 100 million US dollars.

Managed by Prime Asia Asset Management and based in Singapore, the blackx Music Fund is led by its founder and group CEO, highly respected music industry veteran Chee Meng Tan.

He has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in media, technology as well as independent and major labels. He was previously appointed to lead the Asian expansion plans of ADA, the independent label and artist services arm of Warner Music Group.

Prior to ADA, he was Spotify’s first employee in Singapore and its most senior industry-facing executive, responsible for the streaming service’s subsequent launch in all Asian markets.

The new Singapore-based company’s management team also includes Garand Wu (Chairman, Greater China), the former General Manager of Universal Music (China).

Wu is a seasoned musician and music executive, with over 25 years of experience in leadership positions in the live entertainment, media and music industry across Asia.

He joined Universal Music China as MD in 2013 and left the post in March, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Speaking to MBW, Chee Meng Tan said that “while music royalties as an asset class for private equity is at a nascent state in Asia”, the fund is “very encouraged by the confidence of our early investors”.

He added: “US$100 million at launch is a very healthy indication of the confidence of our investors.

Looking to the future, Chee Meng Tan is optimistic about the fund’s prospects in the Asian rights acquisition market and says the fund’s goal “is to be the leading creative rights platform focused on artist in Asia”.

Here, Chee Meng Tan, founder and CEO of the Singapore-based group blackx Music Fund, tells MBW why he started the business, what kind of catalogs he plans to acquire, and his predictions for the catalog market in Asia and globally.

Why did you decide to launch blackx at that time?

I have been very lucky to be part of the industry for over 20 years and have benefited greatly, especially from the amazing talent from Asia. It’s important to give back and play my part at this point to help fuel even more industry growth and create more value for the creativity of these incredible talents.

“By more effectively connecting private capital to creative capital in Asia, blackx provides a platform for the creative and investment communities to participate in each other’s successes.”

As technology continues to evolve and influence the consumption behavior of music fans, we have identified more opportunities to generate greater value for artists, musicians and investors as we continue to have different approaches to landscape change and to address some of the existing shortcomings and inefficiencies. . We have reached a point in time where the intersection of music, technology and creativity presents the perfect stage for blackx to take flight.

Asia accounts for half of the total number of Internet users in the world, or 2.2 billion, and it is here that the largest addressable market base resides and also a hotbed of innovation and technological advancement that continues to grow. changing the way music and entertainment are consumed and monetized.

Apart from the potential of massive domestic markets such as China, the growing popularity of Asian-originating genres such as K-pop is also accelerating growth.

By more effectively connecting private capital with creative capital in Asia, blackx provides a platform for the creative and investment communities to participate in each other’s successes.

What will you look for in the catalogs you acquire?

We want to give musical works of art a dignified home and a foundation for creators to thrive, while giving investors reason to support music as an asset class. We believe that mutual success is the key.

We are highly considered in our curation and will allocate resources to support unique creations that we believe will contribute significantly to the appreciation of Asian culture.

More importantly, catalogs will benefit from blackx management for both creator and investor.

What are your ambitions for blackx for the next five years?

Our goal is to be the leading artist-centric creative rights platform in Asia, fostering understanding and deepening appreciation for Asian culture globally.

We drive music participation beyond what the current ecosystem allows and maintain quality curation to ensure that music is protected and its creators are equitably enriched. We seek out and adopt innovations to improve revenue streams and consumer satisfactions.

“Our goal is to be the leading artist-centric creative rights platform in Asia, fostering understanding and deepening appreciation for Asian culture globally.”

In this way, we aim to empower, impact and nurture the Asian music community. Asia has an incredible talent community and we are creating new ways and a new platform that can enable these creative talents to succeed in the pursuit of their craft – both creatively and commercially.

Are there specific markets in Asia where you will be looking to acquire catalogs?

Through our diverse and extensive network and deep industry relationships, we are constantly evaluating opportunities in the region. There is very strong potential in genres from Asia, as well as huge untapped potential for Asia/MER as growth markets.

Our main consideration is that it should be mutually beneficial for both creator and investor.

You mentioned that the presence of private equity in music royalties as an asset class is still in its infancy in Asia. Would you say your initial raise reflects the enthusiasm for music rights among the region’s investment community?

Asia has a very large pool of cash and returns looking for investable capital. There is a strong drive to reposition capital into private markets and assets that are relatively insulated from global economic uncertainties and volatility.

“Asia has a very large pool of cash and returns looking for investable capital.”

We believe that assets like music royalties that are built on unique creative value have a place in every investor’s portfolio, both for returns and for the overall vibrancy of music as a collective experience.

What is your forecast for the catalog market in Asia and globally?

blackx expects more participation from both sides of the market, and curation is essential while preparing for explosive growth by embracing the next wave of innovation for music consumption.

There will be increased interest in music as an investable asset class – and the industry will continue to evolve and grow, bringing heightened expectations of things to do differently and for the better.

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