The problem with Linkin Park

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You may or may not know that Linkin Park are without doubt the biggest Western rock band in China. They have also committed a huge amount to this region. We’ve devoted a lot of coverage on this site to the band including

our first article, a review on the Hongkou Stadium show in November 2007

the man who broke Linkin Park in China

the cancellation of the 2008 China tour

This is a band that has been promoted extensively in China for over 10 years, has done 2 tours of the mainland, and were slated to return to China this September for a run of three stadium shows (Shanghai, Beijing, Wuhan) that Livenation were putting together. Contracts were signed, licenses applied for, things were looking good. A rock stadium show in Wuhan – we’re not the biggest LP fans in the world, but we would have gone to that show….

Until a couple of weeks ago that is.

Linkin Park China cancelled banned

It seems that the band were attending a conference for youth in LA – PTTOW, a summit for Youth Media and Innovation. There were lots of other celebrities in attendance, including a recently abdicated leader of a country that isn’t a country in this country (a bit obscure, but you should understand what we mean).

In any case, the two groups overlapped and there are photos all over the web with members of the band on a stage with the “High Llama”. Hugs and handshakes were exchanged and it is pretty clear for those caring to notice that they were pretty chummy. Another star of another equally famous band in China was also on that stage.

Unfortunately, someone inside the local hierarchy here in the Middle Kingdom have decided that Linkin Park are no longer welcome in China, certainly for this tour, and perhaps for the longer term too.

We can understand the desire of artists to support causes, and certainly PTTOW! seems like a very worthwhile event. On the other hand, it seems like commercial suicide for a band that are so invested in the region to appear on the bill of something like this, especially at a time that their permits were being processed. The ministers of culture have certainly learned how to use search engines over here, and that is one of the first things that is searched for, an association past or present with the TB cause.

It also seems a shame to deprive Chinese fans of a band that is really very popular and influential here. It also seems more than coincidence that Linkin Park recently split with their long term manager Rob McDermott, who was very invested and knowledgeable in China and the rest of the region. We hope that this can be resolved somehow, but similar to the Beastie Boys, we imagine it will be a long time before China sees Linkin Park in a stadium near you…

  • It’s not Linkin park depriving the fans by their actions, it is the gov here by theirs. That has to be clear before we go on and analyse it. IMO

  • Anonymous

    For sure Andy, but we have to be pragmatic about this. We are here and working in a country that lays out strict rules. We can look at this two ways – either we work within the system and try to influence things incrementally, or we buck the system and get locked out of it.

  • Wang Ge

    The real obscure part is why grandfather TB spoke at a summit for Youth Media and Innovation…

  • Charlie

    The artists needs to take responsibility for this, shaking hands with those who pose a threat to the very place the artists have experienced success in the past has to have ramifications. It’s just a shame the fans, the industry and those pushing for progress lose out to politics.

  • Jeff

    Sad, very sad.  I agree with China Music Radar’s comments

  • Bernd Stemm

    Damn, that is sad.

    Just saw LP in Hamburg and saw this amazing piece of work:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miNntiKSvXY

    Cross my fingers for all you fans in China, that they will retunr soon!

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