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China State Label

Hollywood Reporter - November 14, 2002

AIM Group Signs with China Record Corporation

November 12, 2002


November 14, 2002 | The Hollywood Reporter By Jesse Hiestand

China is opening the vaults of its state-run music label by granting worldwide licensing rights to Los Angeles-based AIM Group LLC. Founded 50 years ago, China Record Corp. has an audio and video library of more than 60,000 titles by about 5,000 artists. All told, the collection is said to represent the entire spectrum of Chinese music. "It's essentially something frozen in time. Since the Communists took power, (CRC) has been a monopoly record company," said AIM Group chief executive Frank Mayor, who worked for about a decade to secure the rights. "We're actually their official agent so it's more than being just a partner. They've pretty much pledged to do everything through us."

Initially, AIM Group will focus on licensing the music to film and television productions, with a particular emphasis on TV networks gearing up for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Plans are also under way to promote and distribute the Chinese music around the world, including the estimated 35 million Chinese who live abroad. Separately, the agreement seeks to make Western artists and smaller music catalogs available to Chinese audiences. AIM Group and CRC have already signed an agreement to feature San Diego-based world music group AO in the Olympic ceremonies.

The agency agreement AIM Group and CRC, which did not involve the transfer of money, was recently signed by Mayor and CRC president Daxin Zhao. More than a record label, CRC also operates three CD/DVD manufacturing plants, a chain of retail stores, a film and TV company and several media publications. The reluctance of China's Ministry of Broadcasting to foster ties to the outside world started to wane when the country joined the World Trade Organization a year ago, Mayor said. "As a result of that they've had to open up their markets to foreign companies, which include entertainment companies. Now (CRC) has competition, but it also has the Chinese mandating that they have to start making some money."