The 10th KKBOX Music Awards brings together the best of Asian performers

  • Lifestyle
  • Thursday, 05 Mar 2015

‘I listen to Wu Bai and Sodagreen for Chinese music, and Sting and Coldplay for Western music. I also listen to jazz and classical music,’ says Cheng.

Jacky Cheung wowed music fans in Taipei at the annual music show.

The 10th KKBOX Music Awards held last month was a glamorous star-studded affair as 17 acts from seven countries took to the stage, packing in the crowds at the prestigious 15,000-capacity Taipei Arena, Taiwan.

Performers included a mix of award-winners and top stars such as Hong Kong’s Jacky Cheung and Karen Mok; Taiwan’s Jolin Tsai, A-Lin, Rachel Liang, MP Magic Power, Fire Ex, Ann (Bai An), Eric Chou, Ian Chen and Dino Lee; China’s Ding Dang and Li Rong Hao; Malaysia’s Andrew Tan and Jess Lee; Singapore’s JJ Lin, Japan’s May J, South Korean boyband VIXX, and Korean-Taiwanese popstar Bii.

As the headlining act, Hong Kong God Of Song Cheung opened the show with a blast. Despite being struck with a bad case of flu, which almost made him cancel his much-anticipated performance, Cheung easily wowed music lovers in Taipei with his trademark soaring vocals. Cheung said he did not want to disappoint his fans so he made a last minute change to singing Tears Of Time.

Taiwanese pop princess Tsai went for the cute-sexy look, sporting a row of tiny buns on her head while she danced in an all-white outfit paired with sheer lace pants.

Cheung opening The KKBOX Music Awards.

Performing as the eight-time winner of KKBOX’s Top Ten Artiste Of The Year, Tsai got everybody moving with three of her hit songs: I’m Not Yours, Medusa and PLAY.

As the very first South Korean boy band invited to attend the music awards ceremony in Taipei, VIXX went all out to impress with a polished rendition of their hit songs Error and Eternity.

The six-man K-pop group took it up another notch when they topped their performance with a popular Mandarin song, Taiwanese megastar Jay Chou’s Starry Mood, no less.

Six-member South Korean boyband VIXX.

Another impressive performance of the night belonged to the “Four Knights Of Eagle Music”. Performing much like a boy band, the pseudo-pop group is formed by label-mates Taiwanese-Korean singer Bii, Malaysia’s Andrew Tan, and Taiwan’s Ian Chen and Dino Lee.

Singaporean singing sensation JJ Lin and Taiwanese indigenous pop star A-Lin, both repeat winners of the Top Ten Artiste award, also delighted fans with their signature hit songs.

Strike a pose: Tsai has been placed as KKBOX’s Top Ten Artiste Of The Year eight times in a row.

Commenting on the popular annual music awards, KKBOX senior vice president Josephine Cheng offered: “People like to observe music charts. So staging the music awards is a way to showcase the best music of 2014 in a three-to-four-hour show. Since it is broadcast live on several platforms, more people will be able to access this musical experience.”

Cheng opines that KKBOX plays a very important role in promoting Asian artistes as well as protecting their musical interests. “Unlike their Western counterparts, Asian artistes do not have as many platforms to reach an international audience.

“So, it is our fervent hope that they can do so via KKBOX as the wonderful thing about the Internet is that it has no boundaries.”

NEXT: KKBox, a major player in the music streaming business in Asia -->>

‘So, when I’m missing home, I prefer to listen to familiar sounds from my homeland (Taiwan),’ says Ho.

KK Box is a major player in the close-based music streaming business in Asia.

KKBOX is a cloud-based music streaming service provider founded in 2004. In 2009, the Taiwan-based company expanded to South-East Asia. Currently, it has more than 10 million registered users and streams over 20 million tracks.

It also hosts the world’s largest Chinese music library and now offers streaming services in seven Asian countries: Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore. It has plans to reach markets in Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

The app accords access to auto-synced playlists from all the user’s devices and even boasts Facebook integration. Subscribers can listen along (enjoying the same song at the same time) with friends and artistes, and even sing along to the rolling lyrics. It is also personal computer and mobile phone compatible.

In short, it is a full music database that you can take anywhere with you and even provides a platform for you to interact with other users while on the go.

KKBOX also publishes a monthly print magazine and holds an annual music awards show (already in its 10th edition) in Taiwan.

While in Taipei to cover the KKBOX music awards, Star2 spoke to KKBOX’s senior vice president Josephine Cheng and managing director (SEA region) Andrew Ho about the progress of their product.

Ho says that the advent of digital media means everything changes so quickly. “As soon as a new trend is identified, it transforms into something else. So, we have to accept new developments and swiftly adapt with more progressive programming. However, the one thing that hasn’t changed is our passion for music.”

Cheng pointed out how the service is geared to benefit the end user. “We have to be able to imagine what a user wants while listening to music.

“Firstly, we have to make sure that all the songs that people want to listen to, we already have in our massive database of over 20 million songs – that is a great variety.

“Secondly, I may be curious about what others are listening to. Or there may be other singers or songs of a similar genre that I have yet to discover. This is where we can introduce new songs or singers according to the users’ preferences. We have a team of specialised R&D scientists to analyse and develop a menu or songlist according the user’s music tastes and listening patterns.”

While KKBOX subscribers listen to all sorts of music, Cheng contends that Chinese-language music still forms the bulk of its users’ playlists. “As for my own preferences, I listen to Wu Bai and Sodagreen for Chinese music, and Sting and Coldplay for Western music. I also listen to jazz and classical music,” Cheng shared.

But for the jet-setting Ho, who has to travel quite a bit as he has to deal with the South-East Asian market, music plays a different role. “I’m away from home a lot as I have to travel to different countries. So, when I’m missing home, I prefer to listen to familiar sounds from my homeland. For example, Taiwanese songs by Huang Yi Ling and Jody Chiang. I also listen to what my daughter likes, such as One Direction.”

Ho then explained how localisation is of prime importance to KKBOX and how it has helped the company achieve a three-fold increase in the Malaysian market ever it was introduced here in 2013. “By the middle of last year, we had already started developing the Malay song collection for the Malaysian market, and the growth has been very encouraging.”

‘I listen to Wu Bai and Sodagreen for Chinese music, and Sting and Coldplay for Western music. I also listen to jazz and classical music,’ says Cheng.

Their demographics show that KKBOX users range from 20-year-old university students to working adults in their 30s. They have also discovered that up to 90% of users listen to music on their smartphones.

“This is especially so in South-East Asia, where most people are never without their smartphones,” Ho continued.

Their greatest challenge, he says, is dealing with illegal music downloads.

“When music consumption was in the form of CDs and tapes and radio, all was well. But when the digital age arrived, the problem of illegal music downloads arose,” Cheng said. “Our challenge lay in adapting to these changes in order to provide better service to our consumers. When users discover that our music service far exceeds that of pirated versions, it will convince them to sign up with us.

“On the one hand, we had to convince music labels to use our platform while dealing with copyright issues. On the other hand, we had to court consumers by developing the interface to increase the fun factor.

“The next challenge then, would be for us to take advantage of the latest technological advances to make our product both accessible and affordable to consumers.”

You can download KKBOX via Google Play or Apple Store.

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