SiriusXM and 88rising, the Asia-focused music and media company, are launching an all-Asian multi-genre Internet radio channel that will be available across the United States. It is believed to be the first of its kind on American radio.
The 24/7, commercial-free channel, to be called 88rising Radio, debuts Thursday at 12 p.m. EST on SiriusXM channel 305 on car stereos, online streaming and via the SiriusXM app. . It will feature a heavy dose of pop music from various Asian countries including South Korea, Japan, China, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. Artists expected to appear include K-pop stars such as BTS, Blackpink, Twice and Jackson Wang, as well as Filipino pop singer Iñigo Pascual and South Korean DJ Peggy Gou.
The formation of the channel, which has been in the works for more than a year and has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, underscores the growing global popularity of Asian music in the age of streaming. It also represents a bang for 88rising, the Los Angeles-based label led by founder and CEO Sean Miyashirowhose artists, including Indonesian singer Niki, Japanese singer-songwriter Joji and Indonesian rapper Rich Brian, will enjoy greater exposure for their music and greater royalties for radio play.
“It’s a great indicator of where Asian music is going today,” Miyashiro said. Billboard. “Just having Asian music playing 24 hours a day is a huge win and a huge step forward.”
Excluding Japan, music market revenue in Asia experienced its second consecutive year of double-digit growth in 2019, up 11.5% to $1.71 billion (Japan revenue fell 0. 9% to $2.9 billion), boosted by a surge in paid subscription streaming, according to IFPI.
Asian music also shows its strength on Billboardthe new world rankings. Japan and South Korea were among the 10 countries with the most over-indexed songs on the Global Excl. US chart versus the Global 200 chart, which includes the US market, the largest in the world.
Pandora, which is owned by SiriusXM, will launch an 88rising companion radio station in January to include select tracks and exclusive audio messages from SiriusXM channel artists.
88rising Radio will debut with a round-the-clock takeover by 88rising artists and Asian talent from around the world. Participating artists will include Yuna, Dumbfoundead, beabadoobee, Phum Viphurit, Japanese Breakfast and Keshi.
Initial programming will include mute earlyhosted by rapper-actor Dumbfoundead, and SUBPERSONS, hosted by part-Filipino R&B DJ-singer SOSUPERSAM. Early next year, Miyashiro will host a weekly global Asian countdown show, Biggest 8.
When social distancing is no longer necessary, SiriusXM says, the channel will also provide a platform for touring artists to visit, conduct interviews and interact with listeners and perform live at SiriusXM studios in Los Angeles and New York.
Miyashiro says the SiriusXM channel will offer a heavy dose of pop music in English and Asian languages. His team at 88rising, which will curate the station’s content, also plans to create shows featuring Asian music subgenres such as 2000s Korean R&B and Japanese urban pop. There are also podcast plans. At least two shows are already in the works, including a six-part comedy interview series hosted by comedian Joel Kim Booster titled Joy Fuck Club.
While the channel will be headquartered in Los Angeles at the new SiriusXM Hollywood Studios88rising also plans to feature shows recorded in Asia, including two produced in Seoul – one is a Total live demandstyle countdown show with performances, and the other is a “variety podcast show” developed around Jae, a Korean-American member of South Korean rock band Day6.
For 88rising, the SiriusXM channel will generate more content for the company’s growing ecosystem focused on Asian music. The label plans to film all of the channel’s shows and repurpose them into music videos for social media and 88rising’s YouTube channel, which has nearly five million subscribers. “There will be a very large video component because we know how to take advantage of video,” says Miyashiro. “That’s sort of a big part of our thinking.”
The SiriusXM channel is 88rising’s latest five-year effort to expand its footprint. The label discovered breakthrough talent with NIKI and Higher Brothers, and recently signed a deal with a Filipino telco to develop crossover artists. “88rising is a pioneering force bridging East and West, with unquestionable success and credibility in nurturing cutting-edge Asian music culture,” Scott Greensteinpresident and chief content officer of SiriusXM, said in a statement.
Miyashiro says he’s not so concerned about language barriers to listen to non-English songs. He counts on the same popularity that Latin music has aroused among non-Spanish speaking populations. “There are a lot of people who don’t understand or speak Spanish fluently and love Latin music, myself included,” he says. “Bad Bunny – I’m listening to his album more than anyone this year I would say. It’s the same with K-pop. Like the lion’s share of the global audience doesn’t understand Korean.
Miyashiro hopes the channel will eventually become a “living, breathing universe of Asian music and culture, where we would develop many different shows with personalities who have distinct points of view.”
UPDATE 12/02: Based on information provided by SiriusXM, an earlier version of this story stated that the 88rising channel would not be available in automobiles. SiriusXM has since corrected the error, saying the new station will be accessible everywhere.