Uptown Records Celebrates Record Store Day

Our friends at Uptown are putting on quite the show in celebration of Record Store Day, which has been going for 7 years now. The aim of the game is to celebrate the unique culture surrounding the network of independently-owned record stores that exist around the world.

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It’s looking like a mini-fest, with a sweet line-up and tacos to boot! There’s a mixed bag of Beijing favourites and local acts playing, including; Little Punk, Thruoutin, Noise Arcade, Bed Stars and Faded Ghost.

Get involved and celebrate:
-Rummaging through boxes for hours looking for your favourite exotica LP.
-The smell of vinyl.
-Businesses that press limited vinyl runs and distribute them FOR FUN.
-People that don’t question the point or practicality of buying a record player.
-Expats that know it’ll be a pain shifting their record collections back home, but who collect anyway.

The Importance of Electronic Music in the Music Market

Sharing the same name as the panel we attended at Sound Of The Xity, this article takes a look at what’s going on in the electronic scene, including the recent hubbub made by Great Wall Music Festival and Electric Circus Festival in Shanghai.

First, the panel:

It’s Electronic Music Culture, not EDM, says Irfan Van Ewijk, and we like that. The founder of ID-T had a wealth of gems to share, including how important it is for emerging promoters – often with limited budgets – to market the experience and lifestyle surrounding shows as opposed to content alone. Convenience and execution are also crucial elements. In fact, whereas most promoters would work on a split of 20/80 for operations/talent, ID-T reverses this, justifying the switch with the premise that talent doesn’t drive mid-long term growth. It’s the quality of the experiences that really counts.

Talking to Steve Sybesma about the state of the electronic scene in Shanghai and how Storm was ideated, he – along with Chief Marketing Officer Om Zho – affirmed their position stating that the market was ready for a large-scale electronic fest (a view Howie B also endorsed). In terms of bookings, many locals are seemingly unaware of who the top DJs are on the international scene, and this could be seen as an issue or opportunity really. The end game is to help further develop festival culture in China, and with the increasing professionalisation of services throughout each segment of the industry, things seem to be going in the right direction.

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Wooozy Offline: The Radar Talks with DJ Sleepless

This week Wooozy.cn gets grounded via a new series of shows they’ve tagged “Wooozy Offline”. For the first instalment the team have lined up a solid bunch of local talent, and Bristol sound boy New York Transit Authority (formerly Mensah, who was big in the Bristol dubstep scene). The idea is to build the profile of local artists through coordinated collisions with internationally renowned talent. In a bid to discover more, we shot a couple of questions over to DJ Sleepless who also acts as the Managing Editor of Wooozy.cn.

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Sound Of The Xity Day 1 Part 1

As mentioned previously we had the pleasure of attending Sxity, which partnered with WOMEX to curate an amazing series of talks and panels. It was a long day one; lots of ground was covered with the theme of technology enabling new routes to market and socialised music consumption running through most panels. We’ll give a general run down of some of the highlights, and at a later date, try to expand on some of the key points, case studies and arguments.

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Strawberry Festival: Head-Turning Headliners

Modern Sky’s Strawberry Fest is rolling out over 10 cities this year including Wuhan, Xi’an, Shenzhen, and the music centres of Shanghai and Beijing. We’ve delayed this post, as we were sure the topic of Strawberry would crop-up during the panels at this year’s Sound Of The Xity conference in Beijing.

They’ve stacked an impressive lineup of foreign acts, having announced a couple of days ago that Justice would be performing their first live China show (bar their appearance at Bar Rouge in 2012). The duo will be joined by Cut Copy, HiM (with their unique brand of ‘love metal’ as per their 2003 album title), post-rockers Explosions In The Sky and AC Slater. They’ve really honed in on all the core audiences here, with this being the first year they have booked international headliners that are also near the top of bills in other more developed markets; an interesting move in lieu of the likes of Travis who headlined last year.

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Indeed, the festival has garnered itself a great deal of praise, with DJ WENGWENG (Founder of INTRO Electronic Music Festival) noting that China’s festivals need to support local talent to sustain their futures. Strawberry is a great example of a festival that has managed to balance the need to attract top talent, with the need to build brand credibility with local audiences and support the local talent which will (hopefully) rise to the top of the festival bills in the near future.

UPDATE:

Strawberry has also confirmed movie star and singer Maggie Cheung and her band, more at CityWeekend Beijing.

And the problem is…… Huangniu

After the big Metallica 6-minute sellout last August, today was the turn of Taylor Swift. Tickets for the China show went on sale at 12pm. Tickets for the China show were all sold out at 12.01pm.

Forgive our cynicism, but it seems to us unlikely (particularly considering the SHOCKING state of Shanghai’s internet at the moment) that all 10,000 tickets were sold to end consumers. Considering the prices that Metallica tickets were reaching on the secondary market just days after “selling out”, expect to see 20-30,000RMB tickets surfacing in the next few days for the queen of country. We will withhold judgement on whether or not Taylor Swift is popular enough to warrant this kind of behavior (she is about as big as anyone on the planet at the moment). We would only be shedding crocodile tears if the scalpers were burned hard on this one.

We imagine that this has been going on for years with Chinese shows but it is only recently that international acts have started warranting this kind of attention. Scalping is the scourge of ticket buyers everywhere, but it seems that China’s particular brand (which often involves venues and the big ticketing companies, and sometimes even the promoters themselves) will destroy the ticketing market for years to come if it isn’t legislated.

We’re not holding our collective breaths. In the meantime, watch and weep…

It’s All Happening in Beijing – SOTX

We’re going to be heading to Sound of the Xity (anyone else have problems pronouncing Xity?) to take a gander, catch some shows and cherry-pick some insights from the numerous panels that have been curated for the conference.

The conference has a laudable set of goals which we hope to vamp off in upcoming posts. These include:

(1) stimulating actual progress in the Chinese music industry,
(2) adapting best practices and seasoned formats from abroad,
(3) sharing platforms and content with a distinct local flavour and rhythm,
(4) creating better international awareness of the Chinese music industry, and
(5) realising more and better value with the available content and resources.

There’s a great deal of emphasis on the convergence of technology with music. With a panel entitled ‘The Importance of Electronic Music in the Music Market’ it’s pretty telling that the role of (broadly speaking) electronic music in this market will continue to be a point of focus.

Other exciting topics include:
Services and Gadgets: The Darlings of the Digital Music Era (ft. Wen Ya, Category Director of Amazon China)

The Ecology of China’s Music Education (ft. Zhang FanPresident of Beijing MiDi School of Music, Founder of MiDi Festival)

Sina Weibo: Creating Reverberations for the Dissemination of Music (ft. Jetty Tang, Senior Product Manager of Sina Weibo)

Protecting and Speaking Out for Music IP Rights

Artists get in on the conference action too, with speakers including Howie B, DJ WENGWENG, Moxizishi, Hao Yun and Song Dongye.

We’ll try and get to every panel. Grab a soda and hit the books.

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Xiami User Accounts Merge with Taobao

News just in – a recently brokered deal with Taobao will see Xiami migrate all user accounts to Taobao’s platform. Xiami’s core music service will remain, but the user accounts themselves will be dispensed with.

Users are pretty incensed given they have no say in the matter. Wooozy.cn just pushed the story on Weibo, with one reader summing up quite succinctly:

Taobao sells fake products, Xiami sells unlicensed music, they are indeed a match in heaven “.

Taobao stands to gain credit card information and other data assets associated with each user account. Xiami of course becomes further legitimised…

Read more here

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RUFF Cut: Creating vs. Fulfilling Needs

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re working in, there is always a certain tension that exists. This tension arises from the need to accomplish two things: to serve others, and to serve yourself. The perfect scenario is one in which we can unconditionally fulfil another’s needs and gain total satisfaction from doing so. But we’re not perfect, businesses aren’t perfect, and the reality is we like to indulge ourselves a bit at times, in the hope we can make a difference – to steer things a little.

But how much steering can we do? How far can we push the boundaries? For music promoters in particular, it’s a question that always crops up.

RUFF & Tumble

RUFF & Tumble

Joel Resnick – as reported by Dan Shapiro at VICE FIGHTLAND - is a practitioner of what we’d call kamikaze disruption. His audacity is elephantine in the sense that it’s both powerful and at times clumsy, without having any real perspective of the limbs that support it.

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Wooozy.cn Interview with Jingweir Chief Editor Michael Winkler

The team over at Wooozy.cn have kindly sorted us with the original English transcript of an interview they conducted with Jingweir Chief Editor Michael Winkler, ahead of their show at JUE |Music + Art 2014. Jingweir is another one of those passions of the heart which could easily fly under the radar. We’re not sure why, worst case scenario people just aren’t searching this stuff out. Fanzines and print in general aren’t fashionable mediums, and there hasn’t been a throwback craze here in China involving teens looting their grandparents’ closets for old garb, records and such. Nevertheless the zine serves its small audience well: each issue is a goldmine, packed with updates on what’s going on in the local scene. Wrench your faces away from your screens and have a flick through – the next issue is up for grabs in a few days.

Jingweir

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