Capital Artists

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Capital Artists
Traditional Chinese 華星唱片出版有限公司
Simplified Chinese 华星唱片出版有限公司[1]
Capital Artists
Capitalartistslogo.jpg
Parent company eSun Holdings, a subsidiary of Lai Sun Development
Founded 1971
Status stopped recording music in 2001; acquired by eSun Holdings in 2008; relabeled in 2010
Distributor(s) Media Asia Music, since 2012
Genre Cantopop
Mandopop
Chinese opera
Chinese children's songs[2]
Country of origin Colonial Hong Kong
Location Hong Kong

Capital Artists is a Hong Kong–based record label, owned by eSun Holdings, a subsidiary of Lai Sun Development. Founded in 1971, Capital Artists signed some of the biggest names in the Cantopop industry, including Roman Tam, Anita Mui, and Leslie Cheung, among others. During its prime in the 1970s and 1980s, Capital had dozens of artists under contract and was one of the biggest labels in Hong Kong.

In early 1996, Capital Artists was purchased by SCMP Group. In 2001, after four years of poor sales, Capital Artists ceased music production and dismissed most of its staff, staying in business solely to collect copyright revenue and issue compilations.[3] In late 2008, it was purchased by eSun Holdings.

The Capital Artists logo is a lower-case "c" merged into a lower-case, slightly larger, "a".

History[edit]

In 1972, Capital Artists began hosting concerts and placed music producers Chan Suk-fan (Chinese: 陳淑芬) and Chan Lau-chyun (Chinese: 陳柳泉) in charge of the events. In 1975, a records division was established.

Throughout the 1970s, Capital Artists focused primarily on producing music for television dramas. In 1982, however, Capital Artists shifted their focus to the Hong Kong–based television network TVB, and began taking part in TVB's newly created New Talent Singing Awards (Chinese: 香港新秀歌唱大賽), or NTSA (renamed NTSA International Finals (全球華人新秀歌唱大賽) in 1997 and TVB8 International Chinese NTSA (TVB8全球華人新秀歌唱大賽) in 2005). The winner of the contest was guaranteed a recording contract with the record label.

Capital Artists has claimed many music superstars, and for a time, it was one of the top five record labels in Hong Kong, along with BMG, PolyGram (later sold to Universal Music Group), Warner Bros. Records, and EMI.

Chronology[edit]

  • 1971 - Capital Artists is officially established. Entertainers include Lydia Shum, Angie Chiu, Bill Chan, and Louise Lee, among dozens of others.
  • 1972 - Capital Artists begins operations.
  • 1974 - Roman Tam joins, making many well-known songs over the next twelve years.
  • 1982 - Capital Artists hosts the first New Talent Singing Awards in cooperation with TVB. Anita Mui wins the competition and signs a contract with Capital. With the talents of Roman Tam and the newly signed Leslie Cheung, Capital Artists becomes a leading record label.
  • 1985 - Anita Mui releases her album Bad Girl Anita Mui (壞女孩). It surpasses 8-platinum status (400,000 copies) within the first week of release, and by the next year reaches cumulative sales of over 720,000 copies. It is said to be the best-selling album of all time in Hong Kong music history, even to this day.
  • 1986 - Leon Lai finishes second runner-up in the fifth NTSA and signs a contract with Capital. Leslie Cheung leaves Capital for Cinepoly Records. Cheung and Anita Mui had been the best sellers in Capital Artists' arsenal. Upon Cheung's departure, Capital Artists became heavily reliant on Anita Mui's commercial power. Mui would go on to become Capital Artists' best-selling artist of all time.
  • 1990 - Leon Lai, after four years without a single album,[4] signs a contract with PolyGram, where he feels he will be more greatly appreciated. His current contract with Capital Artists is later annulled.[5] In 1992, after just two years with PolyGram, Lai becomes one of Cantopop's Four Heavenly Kings.
  • 1991 - At the tenth NTSA, Anita Mui is both an adjudicator and the guest performer. She steps on stage to perform her anthem, "Sunset Melody", but turns around and stops the musicians in the background abruptly during the music break. She then proceeds to give a speech, live on TV, imploring Capital Artists to take better care of the singers discovered through the singing competition, as many previous contestants signed to Capital Artists have languished without any releases to their names.
  • 1992 - Anita Mui goes into semi-retirement. She announces that she will give up commercial concert appearances and only appear for charity performances. However, she promises to continue releasing new albums.
  • 1994 - Anita Mui releases her first new album after resuming her career full-time. Her album, It's Like This (是這樣的), reaches double-platinum upon initial release, with four different tracks topping the charts. The first song, "Where'd My Love Go?" (情歸何處), breaks several records by leaping to #1 on all four of Hong Kong's Chinese pop charts immediately upon release on the airwaves, which is unprecedented. Capital Artists holds a press conference to also announce that Mui's cumulative album sales throughout her career has surpassed 10 million, a record for a female Asian artist at the time. The Capital Artists also produces 5,000 gold-plated commemorative copies of It's Like This to mark the album's success. Later, one company executive will reveal that sales from this album enabled the company to award a bonus of one month's salary to each of its employees.
  • 1995 - Anita Mui releases her last album with Capital Artists under her contract at the time. There are rumors that Mui is not happy with the amount of promotions done for this album.
  • 1995 - In order to boost record sales, Capital reduces all record prices to HKD 88 (USD 11).
  • 1996 - Capital Artists is officially purchased by the SCMP Group, and with the exception of the hiring of Ng Sui-wan (吳瑞雲) as general manager, nothing is changed.
  • 1997 - After a brief hiatus, Anita Mui renews her contract with Capital Artists for an annual price of HKD 20 million (USD 2.6 million). Capital Artists pledges to redouble their promotional efforts for her upcoming album, Illusions (鏡花水月). "Illusions" tops the sales chart.
  • 1997 - After losing singers Sammi Cheng to Warner Bros. in 1995 and Andy Hui to Go East Entertainment in 1997, each of whom had joined at the start of his or her career, Capital begins a downhill slide. Due to Capital's downsizing, the newly renamed NTSA International Finals replaces Capital with Emperor Entertainment Group as co-host. In commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of its start of operations, Capital decorates its albums with a special stamp.
  • 2000 - Anita Mui releases her last album with Capital Artists, I'm So Happy (also known by its original name, Mui Mui S/S 2000), to fulfill her final contract (which was supposed to expire in 1998 were it not for Capital Artists delaying production and release of her last two albums under contract). Capital Artists indicated that the company would spend HKD 2 million (USD 260,000) to promote this last album but never delivered. Afterwards, Mui, in a magazine interview, discloses that she decided to leave Capital Artists because she was tired of the constant personnel turnover at the company, and she felt new management did not respect her. Mui goes on to form her own music production company, and partners with Go East Entertainment and Music Nation to release her forthcoming albums. With Mui's departure, Capital Artists officially goes on life support as a company.
  • 2001 - Stephanie Che publicly expresses disappointment in Capital Artists: during her contract with Capital, she released just one album, 始终想, in 1993. Miriam Yeung and Patrick Tang, both former NTSA contestants, leave Capital Artists in close succession; Yeung signs a contract with Cinepoly, and Tang signs with Go East Entertainment.
  • October 20, 2001 - Capital Artists dismisses fifteen of its employees, retaining only three. Capital discontinues music production, and remains in operation solely to collect copyright revenue and issue compilations.[3] All contracts are nullified and the singers asked to find representation elsewhere.[citation needed]
  • 2003 - One of Capital Artists' remaining employees discloses that continued sales of two compilation albums—Anita Mui's Love Songs (情歌), released in 1998, and an album by Eason Chan—have managed to bring in over HKD 1 million for the company, integral in keeping the company afloat. Notably, Mui's Love Songs continues to outsell other singers' original new releases at the time, five years after its initial release.
  • November 2003 - Jacqueline Chan, with a decade of management-level experience in such record labels as EMI, Warner Music, Emperor Entertainment, and BMG, is appointed Publishing Manager at Capital Artists.[1] Prior to her appointment, Chan had worked as Brand Manager at Intercontinental Film Distributors and Shaw Brothers.
  • 2004 - According to the SCMP Group's 2004 annual report, Capital Artists makes a net profit of HKD 9.4 million[citation needed] (USD 1.2 million).
  • 2004–2005 - Capital Artists releases several albums featuring songs of Leslie Cheung and Anita Mui. Among these releases are: Hits for Kidults (成人兒歌);[6] Tribute to Anita Mui (梅 憶錄);[7] Timeless Soundtracks (影視紅聲);[8] and Leslie Cheung: History, His Story (張國榮/History - His Story).[9] The recording of Mui's final concert, Classic Moment Live, becomes the year's best-selling Cantonese album, according to IFPI. Tribute to Anita Mui also makes the Top Ten. Revenue from both Tribute to Anita Mui and History, His Story is donated to two Hong Kong–based organizations, AIDS Concern and Children's Cancer Foundation.
  • 2005 - According to the SCMP Group's 2005 annual report, Capital Artists makes a net profit of HKD 1.5 million[citation needed] (USD 193,000). The Hong Kong music industry feels the effects of illegal music downloads and piracy, and many other music labels record deficits.
  • April 2006 - Jacqueline Chan, Publishing Manager of Capital Artists since 2003, announces an advertisement campaign promoting previously unreleased audio tracks sung by Anita Mui.[10] It is later revealed to be a newly restored version of Anita Mui's "final" concert in 1991–1992 when she temporarily decided to retire from concert performances. The concert was never released in her lifetime, in accordance with her wishes, and previously, only some members of her fan club received a VHS copy of the concert as a memento.
  • 2008 - Lai Sun Development chairman[11] Peter Lam announces that he will purchase Capital Artists on behalf of eSun Holdings, a subsidiary of Lai Sun Development, for the price of HKD 88 million (USD 11 million). Some Old Song collections album are released in the entity will be called "東亞+華星", a combination of the names for East Asia Music (東亞唱片) and Capital Artists (華星唱片). In this form, Capital Artists will once again create music.
  • December 2008 - Peter Lam puts on a concert in celebration of the recent merger, the East Asia Capital Artists Concert (東亞華星演唱會), at AsiaWorld-Expo, one of the major convention centers in Hong Kong. The concert, dedicated to deceased Capital Artists singers Anita Mui, Leslie Cheung, and Roman Tam, features the talents of many singers previously under contract with Capital, as well as some of the biggest names at Amusic.[12] In conjunction with the concert, the new company releases a three-CD, one-DVD compilation of Anita Mui's biggest hits. The compilation box-set, titled Faithfully, sells over 40,000 copies within two weeks. (As a point of reference, Hong Kong's best-selling album for 2008 sold 58,000 copies during the entire year.) The album remains on the Top Ten list for over 11 weeks. IFPI reported later that "Faithfully" and Leslie Cheung's compilation box set both made it to the top 10 in sales for the year.
  • May 2010 - Capital Artists is relabeled. It is declared that Miriam Yeung and Wilfred Lau, will be signed to the company after the relabeling.
  • Jan 2011 - William So will be signed to the company after the relabeling.

List of singers (2008-)[edit]

Male singers[edit]

William So 蘇永康 Edmond Leung 梁漢文

List of singers (1971–2001)[edit]

Male singers[edit]

List of male Capital Artists singers
English
name
Chinese
name
Year
signed
Year
separated
Reason for separation New company Notes
Bill Chan 石修 1971 [Unknown] Crown Records (娛樂唱片) Signed with Crown in 1977
Roman Tam 羅文 1974 1989 EMI Deceased
Leslie Cheung 張國榮 1982 1986 PolyGram Deceased
David Lui 呂方 1984 1990 Warner Music
Andy Lau 劉德華 1985 1985 EMI Signed with EMI in 1986
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai 梁朝偉 1985 1992 Music Impact (藝能動音) Signed with Music Impact in 1994
Jackie Chan 成龍 1986 1989 Rock Records
Alex To 杜德偉 1986 1990 Rock Records
Andy Hui 許志安 1986 1997 Go East (正東唱片)
Adam Cheng 鄭少秋 1987 1987 Crown Records
Leon Lai 黎明 1987 1990 PolyGram
William So 蘇永康 1987 1987 Time Record (時代唱片) Signed with Time in 1988
Rejoined Capital Artists in 2011
Anthony Lun 倫永亮 1988 1990 Golden Pony (嘉音唱片)
Patrick Tam Yiu Man 譚耀文 1989 1994 Dissolved contract with Capital Colorway Records (力圖唱片) Signed with Colorway in 1996
Edmond Leung 梁漢文 1989 2001 Capital stopped recording music Gold Label Records Signed with Gold Label in 2003
Tsui Chun Tung 徐鎮東 1990 1993 Retired from music industry -
Aaron Kwok 郭富城 1991 1993 Warner Music
Chang Kuan 常寬 1992 1992 Retired from music industry - Retired in 1993
Phil Chang 張宇 1993 1994 EMI Taiwan (科藝百代) Signed with EMI Taiwan in 1995
Michael Tong Man Lung 唐文龍 1994 1996 Pony Canyon
Gabriel Harrison 海俊傑 1994 1997 Retired from music industry -
Eason Chan 陳奕迅 1995 2000 EEG
Cheung Ming-Man 張明敏 1997 1997 Retired from music industry -
Wilfred Lau 劉浩龍 1997 2001 Capital stopped recording music Go East Signed with Go East in 2004
Louis Koo 古天樂 1998 2001 MusicNationGroup (大國文化)
Patrick Tang 鄧健泓 1998 2001 Go East
Ho Yin Leung 梁浩賢 2000 2001 Retired from music industry Snazz (潮藝娛樂) Retired 2002-2006
Signed with Snazz in 2006

Female singers[edit]

List of female Capital Artists singers
English
name
Chinese
name
Year
signed
Year
separated
Reason for separation New company Notes
Lydia Shum 沈殿霞 1971 1971 Life Records (麗風唱片) Deceased
1982 1983 Crown Records (娛樂唱片)
Angie Chiu 趙雅芝 1971 Unknown Unknown Unknown
Louise Lee 李司棋 1971 Unknown Unknown
Agnes Chan 陳美齡 1982 1984 Retired from music industry -
Anita Mui 梅艷芳 1982 1997 Music Impact (藝能動音) (for Mandarin albums) Deceased
2001 MusicNationGroup (大國文化) (for Cantonese albums)
Elisa Chan 陳潔靈 1982 1986 Warner Music
Liza Wang 汪明荃 1983 1984 Crown Records
Susanna Kwan 關菊英 1985 1987 Retired from music industry -
Pui Ling Man 文佩玲 1986 1988 EMI
Jenny Tseng 甄妮 1987 1988 Sony Music Hong Kong
(新力音樂 (香港))
Elvina Kong 江欣燕 1988 1990 Retired from music industry -
Gina Lam 林楚麒 1988 1990 Retired from music industry Go East (正東唱片) Came out of retirement in 1996
Sammi Cheng 鄭秀文 1989 1995 Warner Music
Sandy Lam 林憶蓮 1992 1994 Rock Records
Stephanie Che 車婉婉 1992 1995 Dissolved contract with Capital Music Impact Signed with Music Impact in 1996
Bak Ka-Sin 白嘉倩 1993 1993 Dissolved contract with Capital -
Mao A Min 毛阿敏 1993 1994 Retired from music industry -
Coco Lee 李玟 1993 1996 Sony Music Hong Kong
Tai Yan Ling 戴恩玲 1994 1996 Retired from music industry -
Kathy Chow Hoi-Mei 周海媚 1995 1997 Retired from music industry - Capital contract applied only to Hong Kong. Forward Music (豐華唱片) acted as agent and record label in Taiwan.
Donna Chu 朱潔儀 1995 1997 Retired from music industry -
Chen Yi 陳奕 1995 1997 -
Miriam Yeung 楊千嬅 1996 2001 Cinepoly Rejoined Capital Artists in 2010
Josie Ho 何超儀 1996 1997 Dissolved contract with Capital Amusic Came out of retirement in 2006
Denise Ho 何韻詩 1996 2001 EMI
Cindy Au 歐倩怡 1997 2001 Capital stopped recording music -

Singing groups[edit]

List of Capital Artists singing groups
Chinese English Year
signed
Year
separated
Reason for separation New company Notes
小虎隊 Little Tiger Squad ‡ 1982 1984 Retired from music industry -
張崇基 張崇德 Cheung Shung-Kei Cheung Shung-Tak 1993 1995 Dissolved contract with Capital Pony Canyon Signed with Pony Canyon in 2001

† Artist signed with a different label.

‡ No official English name could be found. This is a direct translation.

References[edit]

External links[edit]