China's leading online music platform seeks greater global exposure of Chinese ethnic music

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Tencent Music, a leading online music platform in China, is seeking to introduce the country's ethnic music to a global audience at a major music festival in the United States.

Tencent Music has brought 10 songs, rooted in the distinctive culture of several ethnic groups in China, to the ongoing South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference and Festivals in the city of Austin, Texas, Yoga Peng, an executive of the music streaming service, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

These songs, selected out of many fine music pieces across the country, are representative of the music culture of Li, Hui, Miao, Mongolian and Uygur ethnic groups in China, said Peng, manager of Tencent Music Entertainment Group's Branding and PR Department.

A digital album of the 10 songs, which were reproduced with modern technologies, has been recorded.

The album will be distributed not only across major online music platforms in China, but also overseas through global music platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify, according to Peng.

"We are looking to present some of the best pieces of ethnic music in China, also the most distinctive cultural products of China, to the whole world through platforms like the SXSW," he said.

The album is part of the "New Ethnic Song Project," a music program that Tencent Music launched along with the China Association of Performing Arts and the government of southwest China's Sichuan Province, among others.

The goal of the project is to "combine the traditional culture with modern communication approaches," liven up the traditional music culture and introduce it to more.

"Ethnic music is an important part of traditional Chinese culture. It might be hard at first for people in other countries to accept or appreciate our music products. But I am confident that we will get there," Peng said.

This year marked Tencent Music's debut at the SXSW, a conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences. The SXSW was launched in 1987.

"We would like to showcase some new models and attempts in China's music industry to the world," Peng said.

The Tencent Music booth at Austin Convention Center has attracted a large number of attendees, who, according to Peng, have given a lot of positive feedbacks.

"Our music sounds quite fresh to them, and different from what they listened to previously," he said, adding they are looking forward to hearing these songs on Apple Music and Spotify soon.

The Tencent Music delegation was also joined by several music critics from China. Together they will compare notes with industry insiders from across the globe on the development of the Chinese music industry over the course of SXSW 2019.

"China now has a music industry that is full of vigor and vitality. There is tremendous potential for growth. We would like the world to know that," Peng said.

On the other hand, he said, the delegation is also looking for cooperation opportunities. "We are hoping to bring in more and more partners, and jointly, we will build an even better music industry in China." 

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