Paul Tan - he'd love to hear you scream

Paul Tan, regional director, Business Development, PlanetMG, is a music veteran who has written, arranged, produced and remixed for renowned artistes such as Janet Jackson.

Paul TanPaul Tan, regional director (Business Development) of PlanetMG, is a music veteran who has written, arranged, produced and remixed for renowned artistes such as Janet Jackson. He tells ZDNet Asia about digital music content, poetry-cum-music audio downloads, and how he gets his kicks from watching people screaming and dancing to his dance tracks at Zouk.

Tell us more about your achievements in the music industry.
I have been in the music industry for 15 years with reputable contacts in U.S.A, UK, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Malaysia … Being very in touch with the latest music trends and music technology has made my working attitude and approach to my music very "cutting edge". [I’ve also helped Sony] in the development of [its] very first DJ product - the MDS-DRE1 Minidisc DJ Recorder/Player.

I was the first remixer from Singapore to work on remixes for artists in Europe/U.S and Asia … I have written, arranged, produced and remixed for artistes like Janet Jackson (Rhythm Nation Tour Megamix for 102.5FM Salinas California), Jeff Chang, Dick Lee, Tracy Huang and Black Machine. I was part of the team that produced the music score and sound design for "Army Daze - The Movie" for Cathay Organisation. My music has been put alongside Fatboy Slim, Propellerheads, Prodigy for a regional compilation by BMG.

What's your proudest achievement?
Watching people screaming, dancing and jumping to my dance tracks at Zouk. It's totally satisfying.

What helps you to sustain your passion for your job?
My work entails me to pave the vision of PlanetMG - to make it one of the most reputable and cutting edge music and entertainment sites in the Asia Pacific … The love of music, ability to break new acts, new music and work with many talented musicians [and] artistes makes my job all the more interesting and engaging. My team knows that we have to love what we sell, which is the music, and that is key to whatever we're doing.

What are your core values when it comes to doing business?
My business philosophy is very simple - be sincere, know your product and industry well and most of all be able to adapt to business environment changes.

My values about money and business came about when I started a little business with my campmates before I left for the U.S in 1986. It brought me into the "school of hardknocks" - learning to sell, negotiate, make decisions and take rejection. It also taught me how to value the money that we had and how to spend it on building the business.

How do you define success? Do you consider yourself to be successful?
[My definition of success] would be achieving newsworthy milestones that push what we're doing to another level. For me it would be going into areas that other industry players have not gone into. With PlanetMG, we're always in high profile and ground-breaking activities like:

  • being the first music portal in Asia Pacific to sell major artists digital music content
  • the first to Web host Singapore International Film Festival this year and Web cast Singapore Short Films for full viewing
  • first to start [the] audio download of poetry fused with music of [a] PlanetMG artist
  • first to partner with KISS FM to provide live streaming dance music with top notch DJs from around world mixing "PlanetMG Club Lunch"

    Any role model whom you look up to?
    No one in particular but I always have respect for people in the industry who have the vision and the courage to carry out what they believe in.

    Is there anything you would have done differently if given the choice?
    None so far.

    What are your thoughts on Napster, P2P technology, and the future of digital music?
    I think Napster is a good technology if we put it to good and legal form of use. P2P technology is great for network situations but I guess with Napster they have shown the world another approach.

    The future of digital music is moving at a very fast pace this year and we should see a hybrid of business models catering to consumer wants in terms of their habits (buying/file sharing/subscription). Whatever it is, the major labels are stepping up the pace to put their content on the worldwide Web much faster than they did a year ago.

    Music influences?
    Hip Hop, Jazz and any music that has soul.

    Which Web sites do you visit most often? What kind of books do you read?
    [I go to] www.planetmg.com ... always making sure it’s up and running; www.bmw.com, to check out accessories and the latest in BMW car developments; www.roland.com for the latest info on my favorite music technology; www.eurocool.com for the latest Palm gear downloads

    I read books about music technology, and on self-enrichment ... current favorite is "Who Moved My Cheese" by Spencer Johnson.

    What is you favorite form of relaxation?
    Coffee with friends and spending time with my Golden Retriever. Sampling, programming beats as most of music is built up from beats.

    Which in your opinion is the best place in Asia to hold meetings?
    Bangkok - good cheap food, accomodation and nice hotels.

    More about People: Managing Asia.

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