Daily DripMusic

For Those About to Rock: Iconic Label Capitol Records Arrives in China


Universal Music Greater China (UMGC) announced the launch of Capitol Records China on March 2, along with a standalone international division supporting the parent company’s global strategy in the region.

According to the company’s press release, Capitol Records China is “a new frontline label focused on signing and developing Chinese music talents.” It will operate under the Universal Music China banner.

The move represents an important step in bridging Chinese and global music scenes and will hopefully bring greater exposure to Chinese talent in the international music arena.

The significance of Capitol Records in shaping music and popular culture at large is difficult to overstate. Founded in 1942 in Los Angeles, the label combines business know-how and music craftsmanship, forging some of the most successful musicians of all time.

capitol records building

The iconic Capitol Records building, a Hollywood landmark, in Los Angeles during the 1960s. Image via Twitter

A far-from-exhaustive list of artists who recorded with the label during its 80-year-long history includes Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Abba, Tina Turner, Beastie Boys, Coldplay, Mary J. Blige, Jennifer Lopez, Katy Perry, Sam Smith, and Dua Lipa.

Two experienced captains will help Capitol Records China sail through the Chinese market: Tom Tang, appointed as general manager, and Yvonne Yuen, senior vice president and marketing director for Universal Music Greater China.

Tom Tang and Yvonne Yeun. Image via Weibo

With over 20 years of experience in China’s music industry, Tang is behind the success of some of the most acclaimed idols in the country — he even scouted AIR, a Uyghur rapper who won the 2018 edition of Rap of China.

“This is an exciting and dynamic time for music in China, with an explosion in possibilities across cultural creativity and digital innovation.”

— Tom Tang, GM of Capitol Records China

Some of the artists who recently signed to Universal Music China, the flagship label division, include Taiwanese idol Chen Linong and Thai-Chinese singer Sunnee, who rose to fame after taking part in the reality show Produce 101.

The branch aims to expand investment in local talents and build the “visibility and popularity of Chinese music internationally,” says Tang.

In 21st century China, talent shows, fandom culture, and popular music are inseparable. The appointment of Tang as general manager of Capitol Records China suggests Universal Music is aware of this unbreakable bond and is ready to leave its mark on the world’s second-largest music industry.

Cover image via Depositphotos

Beatrice Tamagno
Beatrice is a graduate student in sociology at Fudan University in Shanghai. Her writings have appeared on SupChina and ChinaNauts, an online magazine she co-founded with fellow researchers from Fudan. When she is not researching gender in contemporary China, you will find her playing mahjong or binging Chinese TV shows.
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