Founded in 2006, Outdustry provides specialist A&R, rights and marketing services, aimed at the China and India markets. Its small team of 16 is split up across cities in China, London, Mumbai and Los Angeles, among other locations. Past clients include Warner, Universal, Spotify, Beggars, Merlin, mtheory, AWAl and TaP Music.
New York-based indie publisher Reservoir represents more than 126,000 copyrights and 20,000 master recordings. Its roster includes hundreds of top releases from artists such as Camila Cabello (“Havana,” “Senorita”), Dua Lipa (“Blow Your Mind,” “Break My Heart”) and Halsey (“Without Me”), as well as the songwriting catalogues of Young Thug, Migos, and 2 Chainz. The firm recently acquired the Shapiro Bernstein catalogue of 16,000 song copyrights, including songs recorded by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Elton John, and more.
Outdustry Songs has established non-exclusive direct licenses for its content with all of China’s major digital streaming platforms: Netease Cloud Music, Alibaba’s Xiami, and Tencent Music Entertainment’s QQ Music, Kuqou and Kuwo.
Alex Taggert, Outdustry’s head of international who will oversee Outdustry Songs, says the set-up is an unusual one in a business where exclusive deals between foreign firms and the local Chinese platforms have so far been the norm.
China’s publishing sector “represents the greatest untapped opportunity in the global music market,” he said, making it important to find new inroads to help foreign music publishers make money in the country’s difficult market.
Adding Outdustry Songs to Outdustry’s existing marketing and A&R services business will help the company collect royalties and monitor copyrights on behalf of its growing network of writers, producers, artists and rights owners, he explained.
Hussain “Spek” Youssuf, the Canadian hip hop artist who is Reservoir’s executive VP of international and emerging markets, said that he’d gotten to know Outdustry’s team over the past few years.
“Reservoir is always keen to innovate in new markets, and we’re excited to be the first music publisher to get on board with Outdustry Songs, plug into their considerable network in China and pave the way for our creators in this space,” he said.
Outdustry’s China-based A&R team, led by its China general manager Marcus Rowland, has been involved in a number of top Chinese pop hits in recent years that will feed into the new publishing unit’s catalogue of local titles.
These encompass works performed by artists like TF Boys, Bibi Zhou, and Jike Junyi, as well as hit singles with three of the top ten most streamed artists in China — KUN, Chris Lee, and Rocket Girls 101 — including the number one song in China for June, KUN’s “Lover.”
“The Chinese music market has stepped up several gears in the past year or so,” said Rowland. “There has been an explosion in both the volume and diversity of local talent being signed to labels as well as a growing number of successful independent artists.”