Audio titan enters the music business

German firm Sennheiser to cement its position as industry leader with launch of record label

PUBLISHED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 3:58am
UPDATED : Monday, 29 September, 2014, 3:58am

Sennheiser is eyeing new growth in the recorded music business, while buttressing its position as the audio industry leader in headsets for the professional and consumer markets across China.

"We're selling the biggest volume of high-end, audiophile headset products here than anywhere in the world," Sennheiser Greater China president Marc Vincent told the South China Morning Post.

Vincent said Sennheiser currently offers 220 different models, a wide portfolio that has helped boost its sales.

Data from research firm GfK showed the total market for headsets and mobile stereo headphones in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan was US$504.51 million last year.

"Headsets and headphones are largely used as complementary accessories to smart mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets these days," said Gerard Tan, regional account director at GfK Asia.

But Sennheiser Greater China, which has about 110 employees and headquarters in Hong Kong and Beijing, is now also driving the group's potentially game-changing foray into the music business, with new record label Sennheiser Media.

"It started out as a branding project for us because there was a complete synergy with what we're doing. We manufacture high-quality microphones, headsets and studio monitors, and we also have all the production and reproduction materials. So adding the content in the middle allows us to bring our brand to an expertise level," Vincent said.

He said the current goal for the label, funded through Sennheiser Greater China, was to have eight to 10 artists and groups release records by the end of next year.

The record label's first internationally released CD this year was by Beijing-based artist A Bu, a 16-year-old piano prodigy.

Other artists signed include Swiss jazz violinist and composer Tobias Preisig, Hong Kong-based American a capella act Metro Vocal Group, and Canadian funk and soul band LMT Connection.

The potential of Sennheiser Media is high, Vincent said. "It could become a huge integral part of the overall Sennheiser business. Imagine how many consumers we can reach who'll make the automatic connection with the audio products used by the artists," he said.

The new record label follows a change in leadership at privately held Sennheiser. In July last year, brothers Daniel and Andreas Sennheiser took over as co-chief executives of the company.

The group posted €590.4 million (HK$5.78 billion) last year as Asia-Pacific turnover topped €100 million for the first time.

Vincent forecast Sennheiser Greater China's revenue to reach about US$76 million this year, up from US$67 million last year, as demand picks up on the mainland.