Universal Music launches Capitol Records label in China

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Universal Music Greater China (UMGC), a division of the world's leading music giant Universal Music Group (UMG), announced a significant expansion of its label operations on March 2, with the launch of Capitol Records China as a new frontline label focused on signing and developing Chinese music talent, alongside the launch of a new standalone International division. 

Universal Music launches Capitol Records label in China
A logo of Capitol Music Group. [Image courtesy of UMGC]

The launch of Capitol Records in China brings the iconic label to Asia for the first time. For more than eight decades, Capitol Records has played a significant role in popular culture as one of the world's premiere music companies. The label has been home to some of the world's most influential and acclaimed recording artists, including The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Nat "King" Cole, Frank Sinatra, among many others. In recent years, Capitol continues to define popular music and culture with a diverse array of old and new artists, including Paul McCartney, Katy Perry, Neil Diamond, Sam Smith, and Beck. 

According to its press release, the new Capitol Records China, based in Beijing, will look to build on the rich legacy of this legendary label and establish itself as a home for Chinese music talent and culture in the future. 

Native Chinese music executive Tom Tang was appointed as general manager of Capitol Records China. Another veteran music executive Yvonne Yuen was appointed as senior vice president of marketing & head of International division of Universal Music Greater China. 

"The formation of Capitol Records China and the naming of such talented members to the label's executive management team means that Chinese audiences will have better access to domestic repertoire across China under Tom, as well as our diverse roster of international superstar talent under Yvonne. This is a tremendous and fitting advance of Capitol's 80-year legacy," said Michelle Jubelirer, chair, and CEO of Capitol Music Group.

With over 20 years of experience, Tang possesses a wide range of expertise in A&R, artist management, music festival operations, and music copyright management against the backdrop of China's fast-changing music business landscape. He joined UMGC in August 2019 as vice president, head of A&R and Content Strategy of Universal Music China, and has supported the recent signings of artists including Linong Chen, Sunnee, and Gina Alice. Tang has also led partnerships with Disney China, Hunan TV, and Riot Games' "League of Legends," among others. Before UMG jobs, Tang was a musical entrepreneur, launching various start-ups and music projects.

Universal Music launches Capitol Records label in China
Photo of Tom Tang (L), general manager of Capitol Records China, and Yvonne Yuen, senior vice president of marketing & head of the international division of UMGC. [Photo courtesy of UMGC]

"This is an exciting and dynamic time for music in China, with an explosion in possibilities across cultural creativity and digital innovation," Tang said. "Now more than ever, we have an opportunity to build global careers for our homegrown musicians. I look forward to collaborating with the world-class team at UMG, expanding our investment in local talent, and building the visibility and popularity of Chinese music internationally."

Meanwhile, leading the new standalone international division, Yvonne Yuen will lead the development of marketing strategy, day-to-day promotional campaigns, and creative commercial partnerships for UMG's roster of international artists in the region. Over the years, UMG's international artists have established a solid fanbase among the young generation of China's music audiences, with Taylor Swift becoming the biggest-selling international artist in China of all time. In addition, Yvonne and her team will also lead global marketing efforts for Chinese domestic artists.

"I believe that China is at the forefront of breaking the international stars of tomorrow. I hope to work closely with our domestic labels to identify the future stars from China and bring their music to reach a global audience," said Yuen.

In August 2021, UMGC became the first major music company to establish multiple frontline label operations across China with the launch of Republic Records China, EMI China, PolyGram Records China, and Universal Music China as its flagship label divisions. Under the multi-label structure, UMGC is focused on developing new innovative strategies to support domestic labels, to provide services to China's musical talent. In addition, all labels under UMGC will work with local digital partners in content licensing and creative marketing, alongside UMG's global network of platforms and partners to support the growing international popularity of Chinese music worldwide.

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