UMP China hosts all-female songwriting camp
The June Women’s Camp marked She Is The Music’s first songwriting camp outside the United States and connected some of UMP China’s most promising writers with songwriters from several other countries, including the United States, Mexico, South Korea and Australia.
According to the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which studies the number of women featured in Billboard Hot 100 Year-End Charts, only 12.6% of songwriters and just 2.6% of producers behind the top songs. hot of 2020 were women. Statistics like these are the driving force behind She Is The Music, which was founded to try and increase those numbers, both in the US charts and overseas. So when UMP China contacted She Is the Music to suggest a collaboration last year, Michelle Arkuski, She’s the executive director of music, was all ears.
“UMP China had just signed some amazing songwriters and producers, and they wanted to help them raise them and connect them with women around the world and encourage more girls to see themselves as professional music professionals,” Arkuski said.
While some of the writers at UMP China were already established in the industry, Fang wanted to help new songwriters gain traction in the Chinese music market. “They write equally great songs,” he said. For him, all of these writers needed a good opportunity and a comfortable, inclusive environment to do their best work, and She Is The Music’s mission to create more spaces for creative women was the perfect fit. “It was just a great opportunity for everyone,” says Arkuski. “We hope this Untapped Camp inspires others on the road to follow suit.”
Untapped 2021 is UMP China ‘s second hybrid songwriting camp, with local songwriters meeting in person at UMP China’ s new studio in Beijing and international songwriters joining by video conference. It follows last year’s hybrid songwriting camp in partnership with Riot Games, which was held with the goal of creating promotional music for the game’s publisher. League of Legends 10th world championship. This camp was joined by songwriters via videoconference or at a studio in Shanghai.
While UMP China and She Is the Music both hope for a fully face-to-face camp in the future, Arkuski says UMP China’s “state-of-the-art” studio gives the impression that writers who virtually join are “basically in the room with you.” At Camp Untapped, songwriters focused on songwriting for games, television, and film as well as virtual idols.
A rapidly growing sector of the country’s entertainment economy, virtual idols are digitally constructed influencers who, just like human influencers or personalities, sing, dance, pose, and interview. In recent years, large Chinese companies have started to create their own superstars, sensing the potential of the new space, including Tencent’s idol Xingtong. “It’s not yet a very mature market for virtual idols,” says Fang. “However, I think virtual idols are a natural fit with what we do with the Untapped camp. With virtual idols, they don’t need to have famous singers and songwriters. With idols, you do. you don’t need to know who writes or sings the songs. “
To determine which women would be included in the camp, UMP China and She Is the Music held meetings to review the nominations. “Many offices around the world would send us resumes of their songwriters and producers for the camp,” says Fang. Assuming the role of matchmaker, the teams listened to the music of each candidate to determine which writers and producers were going to get married. Almost 30 songwriters participated, including Chinese writers Lona Chen, FAE and Akini Jing.
UMP China has chosen to include international songwriters in its camp because “we believe it is a comprehensive solution for local needs,” explains Fang. This strategy mirrors that of other global music companies operating in China who have held other international songwriting camps, such as BMG’s ongoing Soundlabs series.
Betting Chinese music could become as lucrative as K-Pop, companies are now looking more than ever to invest resources in the country. The Chinese music market is now the seventh in the world, according to the IFPI Global Music Report in 2020.
Next for the Untapped series? Fang discusses the possibility of a “rainbow camp,” highlighting the work of LGBTQ + songwriters in China and abroad. “It will be difficult to achieve,” he admitted, citing China’s discrimination against the gay community, but he hopes it will be possible in the future. “We have a lot of great LGBT writers,” he said. “We want to show that good songs can come from anyone.”
Meanwhile, She Is the Music continues to connect creative women through virtual and in-person events around the world. With a UK workshop for emerging songwriters currently underway and plans to host an all-female camp in Mexico, Arkuski said, “We are really looking forward to expanding our footprint globally.”