A couple of other snippets for your Friday afternoon enjoyment. First, a Q&A with the Asia marketing director, Cheryl Calegari, HERE. Second, some info about a new “Zine” they are putting out on the Chinese underground. HERE.
They really are taking on China from a truly original position, and China seems to be loving it. Annual China sales of around US$150m is not to be sneezed at. Other marketeers take note.
Douban, China’s leading SNS for arts enthusiasts, recently launched a “radio” service. It looks to be in beta at the moment, and essentially is a music player backed by a database of uploaded songs. It plays these songs at random according to perceived users’ taste. There are, of course, no hosts!
If you don’t like the song that the radio is playing, you can throw it into the “litter bin”; in time, Douban will “learn” your tastes and be able to cater to them more accurately.
Currently, the offering of songs is very limited. If you listen for an extended period of time, you will probably hear the same song repeatedly.
This seems to be direct competition to Neocha’s NEXT player. You can try Douban Radio HERE (you need an account). What do you think? How does it compare with NEXT?
Lately we’ve been observing the rapidly evolving Chinese music market with a tabloid-like fascination at the intensity of change in the industry here, so we thought it was high-time to take a step back and expound on the host of positives that are emerging post-Olympics. There are no less than seven music festivals taking place in China over this busy autumn period, including the oft-discussed Beijing double-header of Midi and Modern Sky; Shanghai’s surprisingly diverse and excellent offerings; and the Snow Mountain Festival in Lijiang, which has grown to accommodate arena sized international artists (and arena sized pricing, which will be interesting).
And let’s not forget the incredible art festivals descending upon Shanghai this month, particularly the Shanghai EArts festival featuring dance music extremists Autechre. Throw in the Taiwanese invasion across alternative genres, including the possible return of MC Hotdog for Shanghai’s Iron Mic competition and a Chaoyang Gymnasium show from the hotly tipped Sodagreen, plus the multiple arena tours for Linkin Park and Avril Lavigne (the former in support of the Sichuan earthquake), and it’s plain to see: the music scene is blowing up in 2008.
This weekend brought the China Now Festival, two days of free music loveliness in Huaihai Park, organised by the hugely influential local Shanghai band hangout 288 on Taikang Rd. Follow that with the most ambitious iteration of the JZ jazz festival next weekend in a centrally located park. The following weekend, we can look forward to the Midi-Modern Sky extravaganza in Beijing, and manage to get back down to Shanghai for the intriguing Notch festival, which promises to be held in a massive greenhouse that’s been donated to the cause by the increasingly supportive local government, and featuring the excellent Efterklang and the remixer-du-jour, Disjokke.
A few words of explanation regarding the cute little application that’s recently cropped up on the far right of our homepage: It’s Neocha’s NEXT player, an easy way to sample Neocha’s large library of Chinese underground music.
How it works: Think of it as a randomly shuffled playlist of songs you’ve never heard before, from electronica to garage rock to metal. The tracks on NEXT are all from Neocha’s catalogue of user-uploaded music. You can skip from one song to the next by clicking the round “NEXT” icon. The play/pause button is just to the left, and the “O” in “Neocha” is also the volume control button (click and then use arrow up/down to adjust volume). Down below, you’ll see the artist’s name and song title. Clicking on either of these will send you to the artist’s Neocha profile page.
NEXT is one of many innovative widgets from Neocha, a social-networking site for Chinese artists. Launched in 2007, the site is an aggregator of all things creative in China, with over 10,000 registered users including musicians, comic-book artists, film makers and more.
Neocha is Chinese-only, but you can check out these English interviews with founders Sean Leow and B6 here (written) and here (video).