As SmartBeijing reports, this labour of love is something that every muso in China and beyond will appreciate. John Yingling has been out in the field touring with bands including P.K.14, Hi Person and Stolen, whilst filming a series he calls The World Underground. From Chengdu to Wuhan, to Beijing, he’s been all over and is probably one of few foreigners to have been exposed so intimately to the full diversity of China’s nation-wide music scene. That’s why his project is so important: it captures the dirt and grime, the raw, unrefined and honest talent that marks this year (and even this decade).
This entry was prompted by a press release on Topspin – a comprehensive CMS system geared to help artists (and/or their labels) establish sales, events promotion and insights/tracking processes within a single platform. They’ve just announced the launch of a new ancillary platform called ArtistLink, featuring “Promo Exchange”:
“With Promo Exchange, your promotions – your latest video, tour, album or merch offers – are cross-promoted to fans of similar artists. And you earn even more exposure when you allow other artists to be cross-promoted to your fans in the same way. We give you the tools to reach more fans than ever before. Best of all, it’s free for everyone!”
Does it make sense to leverage audiences in this way? To cross-sell music (and all the other frou-frou merch that comes with it) between closely-aligned audiences under the assumption these people will readily accept it? Yes. Is the technology available? Yes. But what about the ethics behind this kind of intangible gift economy?
CCTV recently published a great article that brought light to the fact that top-tier concert ticketing prices are often unrealistic, especially when you compare the prices here with those of developed markets. It seems that concert promoters’ considerations when setting prices are very one-sided, as you can read in this quote from Live Planet Group’s Bin Rao:
“Before we hold every concert, we will conduct market research, to learn about his fans and his market influence. Based on our research, we will then choose a venue. Then we will set the ticket price according to the venue size and our budget…”
The people up top have just released a 60-point roadmap that includes a number of “Hollywood friendly” reforms related to the protection of Intellectual Property (IP) rights. That’s 60 things that could potentially go wrong. Sorry, excuse our pessimism. Let’s dig in a bit:
We’ve just discovered an article by Jonathan Campbell that draws upon a wealth of personal experience to not only highlight how China’s independent music industry has developed, but also to convey the difficulties in breaking Chinese bands to an international crowd.
We’re happy to see that the underground music scene in Shanghai has been trundling on nicely amidst the hype of ‘everything else’. Over at Yuyintang there was ‘Made in Shanghai Vol. 9’ featuring Tinderbox / Lilith / Stonebones and Monkey Philosophy on the line-up. The contrast between Monkey Philosophy’s showcase of Rage Against the Machine inspired teenager-with-attitude-for-no-apparent-reason songs and the severity of Lilith’s Edward Scissorhands-esque goth show was a bit severe but the Yuyintang crowd digged it.
Then there was Rat On Swamp Dog over at Harley’s. The first of three instalments brought God Bows To Math, Carb On Carb, Pairs and The Other to the stage. Looks like a laugh. Make sure to drop in to the other two nights on November 22nd and 23rd!
China’s entertainment market has undergone incredible transformations over the last few years. In 2007, there was only one mainland music festival. By 2013, every major city had one, from Rizhou to Yinchuan, Luzhou to Lijiang. There are international quality arenas, live houses of all descriptions, recording studios, record labels, management companies, showcase festivals and cultural centres. The Voice of China is one of the highest rated TV programmes ever while 100,000 people went to Zhangbei’s InMusic Festival in 2011.
In the last 12 months, there has been a convergence of international and Chinese zeitgeist. Whilst Electronic Dance Music, EDM, or Event-Driven-Marketing (as DeadMau5 likes to call it) sweeps the USA, China’s super clubs have all but abandoned hip-hop in exchange for the bass and the beast of the music industry’s latest plaything. DJ’s have been popular here for nearly a decade. Tiesto, Sasha, John Digweed all made many trips to China’s major cities from 2005-2009, opening the gilt-edged, bottle-serving clubs that were invested in by hopeful (and financially dubious) investors, thinking that another superclub was just what Shanghai / Beijing / Chengdu / Dongguan / name your Chinese city was in need of.
Now’s your chance to check out how the Chinese crowd rock. Post-metal band The Ocean (a.k.a. The Ocean Collective) are releasing a massive swathe of content going under the title of Collective Oblivion. As part of a 3 DVD bundle which amounts to some 500 minutes of backstory and live footage, the band are putting out a dedicated China chapter which showcases locals and expats alike getting pelted in the face with double-stroke kick drum action.
It’s being released on Pelagic Records soon – here’s a trailer.
This is awesome! Converse – one of few brands that seem to genuinely care about developing the creative industry they depend on to reach out to China’s youths – is hitting up Beijing with the Converse Rubber Tracks initiative. From Nov 30th to December 8th the Converse mobile studio will host a five-day series of workshops in 798.
The RSVP form opened today! Wouldn’t miss this one. Just click “我要参加” on this Douban event: http://www.douban.com/event/20208092/