When one party holds a race meeting- like it did at Shatin yesterday- and where turnover was HK$1.45 billion with an attendance of over 60,000 for Sa Sa Ladies Day- and the other party is the world’s largest music company with the biggest names on its roster of artists, the odds of the two coming together a pretty hire.
And in this day and age of partnerships and expanding consumer bases with a need for horse racing to reinvent itself and attract the next generation of race-goers, this is what has happened with the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the most successful and forward-thinking racing club in the world, and Universal Music.
Apart from a digital release for “Giddy Up”, the theme song for the HKJC’s ultra-successful Happy Wednesday brand, Universal Music will also produce an exclusive premium CD for the Club’s upcoming International Races Week, the highlight of Hong Kong’s racing calendar.
Written by Welsh singer-songwriter Ben Semmens and former Universal Music and EMI Music executive Hans Ebert, the digital release through iTunes becomes the first of its kind for a horse racing club and a major music company.
Already planned is a new release of an original written by the same team for the Hong Kong International Races whereas Semmens, who has built up a following in the city through his appearances at the Club’s Happy Wednesday nights, will return later this month for an extended stay and performances for the HKJC which will last until the end of the racing season.
With Universal’s extensive back-catalogue and the HKJC’s different venues, plus wide variety of sponsors like beauty product Sa Sa as well as Longines, BMW and other global brands, it stands to reason that this is not some one or even three-off partnership.
Having attended Sunday’s Sa Sa Ladies Day and seeing the marketing efforts placed behind it by the HKJC and the sponsor and how this was an event- an occasion not to be missed- and not “just a race meeting”, the power of music and racing in Hong Kong- and the world- is in line for some very interesting music and entertainment marketing breakthroughs.
We’re willing to bet, these will include more than digital releases and premium CDs, but also ‘live’ performances by new and established Universal Music artists, sponsorship deals, the China market, and possibly even A&R efforts through new, unsigned acts- like Ben Semmens- first showcased at venues like the Beer Garden and Adrenaline in the Happy Valley Racecourse.
As Brother Bob once sang, The Times They Are-A-Changing.
Change with them or stagnate- and even perish.