- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

HONG KONG — Asian pop fans are taking Western music off their MP3 and CD players and listening to local artists instead, a survey revealed this week, underlining changes in worldwide music tastes.

Korean, Mandarin-language and Thai pop are among the genres that are beating once-dominant Western pop, rock and rap in Asia, according to the survey by the market research company Synovate.

In the first study of its kind, almost 4,000 people across major cities in Taiwan, China, the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Malaysia, India, Thailand and Indonesia were questioned about their music tastes and how they sourced their music.

Surveyers found that just two Western bands ranked among Asian listeners’ favorite acts: the American rap act Black Eyed Peas and the rap-rock band Linkin Park, both of which had recently toured the region.

Way ahead across the region were Taiwanese rapper Jay Chou, Singaporean pop star J.J. Lin and Hong Kong veteran Andy Lau.

“The survey shows that Asians have more pride in their local artists,” said Ian Stewart, vice president of marketing and research at MTV Networks Asia at Music Matters, a two-day gathering of Asian music industry heads in Hong Kong.

“This is partly being driven, especially in China, by the upcoming 2008 Olympics being held in Beijing,” Mr. Stewart added of the findings.

The survey found that enthusiasm for music was greatest in India, with 71 percent of respondents claiming to be passionate about it, and lowest in Hong Kong, where just 27 percent shared the same enthusiasm.

Young Asians said they still mostly bought their music on CDs. Thirty-four percent said they purchased albums from record shops, and 14 percent said they downloaded it legally.

Of those who admitted obtaining music illegally, 25 percent said they downloaded it from the Internet, 19 percent said they bought pirated discs from the street and 18 percent said they used file-sharing networks.

Sixty-one percent of respondents also said they listened to more music than in the past.

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