Inside Sony Music
- Sony Music Taiwan Named One of the Best Companies to Work for in Asia 2021
- Sep 08, 2021
Kevin Foo, General Manager of Sony Music Taiwan, comments on the award and how music is evolving in Taiwan—and across the globe.
This week, Sony Music Taiwan has been named one of HR Asia’s Best Companies to Work For In Asia 2021, following responses from over 22,500 employees across 292 companies in the country.
Play the video below to watch part of the 2021 winners ceremony, and see Kevin Foo, General Manager of Sony Music Taiwan, accept the award on behalf of the company.
We sat down with Kevin Foo to learn more about what makes the company such a great place to work for employees, and to discuss how Sony Music Taiwan broke through to be the first entertainment/music company featured on this list in the Award’s history.
Q: How long have you been with Sony Music Taiwan, and what made you want to join the team originally?
“I have been with Sony Music Taiwan for two years. Previously, I ran my own indie label and production company out of Singapore, and when those entities were acquired, I was given the opportunity to broaden my scope and work with the amazing Sony Music Taiwan team.
“Being able to work in an exciting market like Taiwan with the amazing artists and talents that have given the world some of the biggest Asian hits over the last three decades, and under the executive leadership of Shridhar Subramaniam, Andrew Chan and Andrew Smith, were all key to saying yes to this role.”
Q: Being a General Manager in the music industry can look different company to company. Could you describe your role as Sony Music Taiwan’s General Manager?
“I am very blessed to be in the music industry, which is filled with people who are passionate about artists and music. My role at Sony Music Taiwan is about facilitating change as the music environment and consumer habits shift; and adapting to the ever-changing landscape of music production, artist development, music marketing and music consumption.
“The different trending platforms, the way people discover music, the way people engage with artists have been constantly changing over the last two decades, and change is happening at a faster rate now than ever before. As such, I aim to set relevant goals and targets and encourage innovation across different departments.
“Most importantly, my role is to do all of this while remembering that we deal with such a precious cultural commodity: our artists and their music. Which has the ability to entertain, change lives, impact people and illicit emotional responses in the most profound ways.”
Q: Could you name one or two recent proud moments for Sony Music Taiwan?
“I joined Sony Music Taiwan at the point when the company had just licensed out the physical business, and with that I knew that I needed to make the digital business our primary focus. So, it was an amazing testament to the team when we moved from being third place in digital market share in Taiwan in 2018, to first place in digital market share by the end of 2019.
“I am very proud of the team for getting to that position within a year, and maintaining the number one position in digital market share in Taiwan every quarter since.”
Q: What are a few things coming up for Sony Music Taiwan that you’re excited about?
“I am excited about the team’s continued efforts with developing amazing emerging talent from Taiwan, as well as the team’s effort to grow the footprint of our repertoire, not just domestically, but across the region as well. Eric Chou, Weibird, Vivian Hsu and J.Sheon are all names that continue to grow their audiences in Taiwan and beyond, thanks to the passion and industrious work from different teams across the business.
“I am also grateful for the challenge and trust that Andrew Chan, our Managing Director of Greater China, has given me to spearhead the expansion of C-Pop—across the Greater China region and beyond. We are looking forward to more amazing collaborations between some of our key priority artists and artists from other parts of the world. “The world of music is truly becoming a smaller place—the next global superstar potentially coming up from anywhere—and I am excited to witness the next superstar come out of Sony Music Taiwan.”
Q: How does your work on social justice and social responsibility play a part in the work culture there?
“First and foremost, our social justice work is part of our DNA and it is crucial to fulfilling our responsibilities as citizens of the world.
“Growing up in Singapore, in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and culturally diverse society, made me mindful and sensitive to issues that can result from imbalances and a lack of diversity. When I moved to Taiwan, I felt that the Sony Music Taiwan company was already in a strong position regarding diversity and inclusion. But I also saw opportunity to do more, expanding our impact on diversity and inclusion both through the work of our artists and also through volunteering and support we provide as a company.
“For example, our tie-up with the National Taitung University in rural Taitung gave us an opportunity to work with students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds. Over 12 months, students majoring in music benefitted from a series of mentoring and hands-on workshops from our employees and artists to help build the skills needed for a career in music. At the end of the course, we also offered internship placements to students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.
“This helped to expand our employees understanding, sense of community and cultural impact beyond just the company’s business goals.”
Q: According to HR Asia, the awards this year emphasize “a story of resilience, strength, empathy and care of the companies to their employees amidst the pandemic.” Can you speak a little bit about how Sony Music Taiwan cared, and continues to care, for employees during a global pandemic?
“Sony Music Taiwan reacted quickly to news of the pandemic, and implemented protocols like social distancing, temperature taking and mask wearing from the very onset of the pandemic. We also ensured that employees were able to move to a 100% work from home set-up, so they could focus on the health and well-being of themselves and their families.
“Our employee’s mental health has been my main focus this past year, which is why we made available weekly meditation sessions as well as ‘virtual tea sessions’ where one-to-one catch-up chats could be arranged with senior managers in the company.
“Most importantly, we also used the opportunity to work closely with the HR Learning & Development team to provide a variety of online upskilling courses to ensure employees had opportunities to further their knowledge and expand on their skillsets from home.”
Q: In your opinion, what do you think makes Sony Music Taiwan one of the best companies to work for in Asia?
“I think a work environment where employees can feel like they believe in the company’s vision and goals, where their ideas are heard and their efforts appreciated, where their collective efforts move the needle, and where every individual is valued and the work they do is relevant and impactful, is truly a work environment that one aspires to be in. I believe the team in Sony Music Taiwan has managed to create an environment like this, and I feel for that reason, it is one of the best companies to work for here in Asia.”
Q: Considering that this is the first time in the Award’s history that an entertainment or music company in Taiwan has received this award, do you think that adds to the significance of this award?
“I believe so! I think the music industry is an extremely fun and exciting industry to be in. However it is also fraught in its share of challenges and stereotypes. I think this award is affirmation that Sony Music Taiwan is an equitable employer, even when compared with companies across other industries, and Sony Music Taiwan is an organization that continues to adapt and evolve with the changes in the ever-changing music, entertainment, digital and social responsibility spaces.”
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How Sony Music Is Supporting Global Social Justice Today
A Conversation With Towalame Austin, Sony Music Group’s Executive Vice President of Philanthropy and Social Impact
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