An epic debut.
A definitive review.
By the most authoritative industry publication. No one could dispute that.
The "epic" label also meant that the upcoming season of the new talent contest was destined to be a bloody battle.
No, maybe it went beyond the New Pioneers Chart. Maybe it would develop into a storm that sucked in the entire Yanzhou music industry. Calling it subversion wouldn't be an overstatement. It had disrupted the planning of so many others.
There was a reason why Ya Erlin and Chu Guang didn't classify the song as an "epic" lightly. Setting aside the quality of the piece itself, this was still an unprecedented feat.
There had been epic pieces before. The Big Three—Silver Wing Media, Neon Culture and Tongshan True Entertainment—all boasted their own elite cooperatives. Silver Wing had Flying Pegasus, Neon Culture had Metal Torrent, and Tongshan True Entertainment was home to Fourth Dimension. They were all capable of producing epic works.
The same went for the other top music cooperatives in other parts of the world, not just Yanzhou. The music they produced was copyrighted. It was never positioned as pop music and their target audience was never the average consumer.
These cooperatives usually only composed for projects with hundreds of millions in profit at stake, like blockbusters, hit TV shows, ads, and online games. Or the biggest of superstars. They always enjoyed a heavenly existence.
And every project was kept tightly under wraps. There were no leaks. That was why these elite cooperatives had special status within their respective record labels. Even a department head like Julian carried no weight with them. She wasn't kidding when she'd said she had trouble obtaining a full song from Flying Pegasus.
When outside companies or entities wanted to use the work of these elite co-operatives, they had to pay up, and it was beyond what the average consumer could afford. Four figures was a minimum, and that only bought you a limited license that lasted a few days or a few months. It depended.
If you wanted to own a song outright, the pricing was even higher. Word was a piece composed by Flying Pegasus was sold for seven figures to a video game studio last year. No one knew the exact amount. No one could vouch for the quality of the song because no one had heard it. The rumor was it wasn't an "epic" piece. If it were, it would have cost even more.
That was why, when Silver Wing launched a virtual idol with an epic song, it sent jaws dropping everywhere.
"Are they nuts?"
That was the response of the Fei Lisi project team at Neon Culture.
Had the folks at Silver Wing lost it?
An epic song for a virtual idol with uncertain prospects? This was no ordinary song. It was golden.
If the Metal Torrent cooperative at Neon Culture produced such a song, they would never waste it on a new virtual idol.
Silver Wing's behavior was downright crazy, wasteful, and incomprehensible. It was like using a dragon-slaying sword to chop garlic. Even if Silver Wing could stomach it, other bystanders felt the pain.
The community of composers was also blown away by this costly investment. So Flying Pegasus had quietly, secretly crafted a virtual idol. And everyone thought they were working on the score for a year-end blockbuster. They never would have guessed.
Insiders at that level maintained a certain level of contact. So when "Divine Punishment" was released, Flying Pegasus members kept being pestered, but no one found out anything.
"It's OK. I understand if you can't say anything. No need to explain. You have your considerations." The folks calling Flying Pegasus started answering their own questions.
But the composers at Flying Pegasus were equally dumbfounded.
Wait, what do you understand? Please explain.
What considerations? How come we were kept in the dark? Who wrote that song? How come Silver Wing had signed such a great talent and we didn't know about it?
The head of Flying Pegasus clutched his chest with a shivering hand after hanging up the phone again.
Used to launch a virtual idol.
He wanted to find out who had made such a wasteful decision.
After swallowing a pill handed to him by an assistant, the head of Flying Pegasus couldn't sit still. He got up and punched his intercom.
He was going to complain to the head of the label.
The music industry was abuzz with heated discussion, and outsiders were equally excited.
A song deemed hefty enough to back an epic film by an authoritative publication was used to launch a virtual idol. It was the equivalent of rolling out a red carpet made with gold bricks.
"What do I hear? Money! Tons of money!"
"No, what you're hearing is the sound of gold bricks."
A gold brick you could purchase for a dollar.
Even music fans uninterested in epic scores couldn't help downloading the song. Only the song was available for download. The music video could only be added to a playlist.
Everyone who watched the music video shared the same thought.
"How come it feels like this is just the beginning?"
"You're spot on. It is just the beginning. Didn't you see the words 'First Movement' at the end of the video? It's the end of the year. I think Silver Wing is up to something."
"I think Silver Wing is up to something too."
"Neon Culture and Tongshan True Entertainment created such a frenzy with their virtual idols, while Silver Wing kept a low profile. Turns out they were holding back a secret weapon."
"They've made their first move. A second move is coming, no?"
"Am I the only person who noticed the name Fang Zhao?"
No matter what, "Divine Punishment" being deemed an epic by industry authorities caused countless ripples. Everyone at Silver Wing was shocked except for Du Ang, Julian, and Ya Erlin.
After reading the review, Du Ang and company rushed to the 50th floor. Today marked the official launch of Polar Light, so the entire virtual idol project team was there. They were celebrating when the trio arrived.
Zu Wen and Zeng Huang weren't music fans, but they knew what the review meant for Polar Light's debut.
When Du Ang and company arrived, they locked the elevator doors so no curious outsiders could bother them.
Du Ang was so excited he forgot what he wanted to say when he opened his mouth.
Ya Erlin and Julian shoved him aside when they saw he couldn't manage a syllable after several false starts.
"Fang Zhao, are you really the composer?" Julian asked. Even though she had asked the question many times, she was still skeptical when the review came out.
"Yes, I wrote the song." Fang Zhao nodded.
"If I'm not mistaken, there are still other movements in the works?" Ya Erlin followed up.
"Indeed." Fang Zhao had nothing to hide. "There are still three more movements to go."
The trio of department heads took a deep breath.
Three more movements.
"Have you started recording them? Let us take a look." Du Ang was anxious to get a head start.
"I haven't started recording," Fang Zhao responded.
"Why?" Du Ang asked in a surprised tone.
But Fang Zhao was the one who was surprised by the stupid question.
"I've used up all my funding."