Stein Predicts Asian Breakthrough

Sire Records founder Seymour Stein, a featured speaker at the recent Music Matters meeting in Hong Kong, predicted China and the rest of Asia are on the brink of producing their first international superstar.

"I have been saying it for 10 years," Stein said during the meeting. "Together they have more than a third of the world’s population – these markets are going to be vital to the global industry."

Stein’s words were a comfort to his audience, who, like their counterparts in the West, are seeing a gradual but steady deterioration in CD purchases owing in part to the switchover to digital sales, which has been compromised by rampant piracy throughout the region.

Of course, some of these executives have already tried to break popular Asian artists in America and Europe, but for the most part have failed.

Hikaru Utada and Faye Wong are superstars in their native Japan and China, respectively, but despite huge promotional efforts their records have barely made a dent overseas.

Stein’s message was to not give up.

"You have to look after your performers and build up a roster," said the man who signed the Ramones and Madonna to record contracts and brought the Smiths to American audiences. "The industry hasn’t changed that much and I am confident it will find a way."