Hot on the heels of the recent announcement that “the man who ruined dubstep” was coming to Shanghai and tickets were being charged out at nearly US$100 presale (580RMB) and over US$100 (RMB680) on the door, come the wonderful Justice, tickets priced at the most reasonable level of RMB380 (limited early bird), RMB420 presale and RMB500 on the door. We do understand that these artists are pretty big names in Europe and the US (in the case of Skrillex, the biggest name in EDM over the last 18 months), but the sad thing about an artist like Justice coming to China and playing a venue like Bar Rouge at such a ridiculous price premium is that the Chinese music fan (who has likely never really heard of Justice before) will assume that they are just another overhyped, overpaid DJ to grace the decks of one of Shanghai’s expat haunts. The fact is, they are also a huge (semi) live festival act.
A little intro for the uninitiated. KTV is the colloquial term for “Karaoke TV”, and is probably the most popular way for Chinese youth to interface with music. Groups rent out a room with a big TV and a seemingly bottomless pit of sugary Canto and Mando pop videos, then lounge around on sofas, singing and carousing. There are other versions of KTV in increasingly sordid varieties, but we will leave that for other blogs to discuss.
What is incredible is that even these highly visible and entrenched institutions indulge in blatant piracy every day of the week. According to this Beijinger investigation, only 10 of Beijing’s 1,500 pay any sort of royalty on the songs that they let their customers sing.