What Radar is Reading – June 2016

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The fifth in a series of link-gathering expeditions to bring you the best of the web on Chinese music industry movements.

Pretty eventful month, this. We’ve got news of big closures, big buzzwords, and the next big names in Chinese indie.

If you’ve noticed a story that’s of interest to China music industry watchers, let us know in the comments!

 Two Takes on the State of Beijing’s Music Scene

Badr Benjelloun and Ami Li offer two slightly contrasting takes on the state of the Beijing scene. Mostly grim tidings, but with a cautious optimism that this kind of stuff comes in waves. Worth a read.

All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) announces closure

After many false starts, and a few memorable iterations, ATP goes down. The All Tomorrow’s Parties ethos was admirable – intimate, fan-friendly, largely non-corporate, with lineups curated by artists – but they could never quite translate the worldview into something sustainable. Their recent run of poor planning and frequent cancellations did them no favours, and this final death knell is sadly not much of a surprise.

ATP will be missed, and here’s to hope that the model for left-field music festivals it established will live on.

Budweiser: Experiences are the New Impressions

The music festival sponsorship bubble?

“Budweiser spent more than $1 million to build out its Budweiser Country Club activation. That cost is in addition to the sponsorship rights for the festivals, partnership deals with the artists and travel/labor costs. Although the brand was unable to comment on those amounts for this article, sponsorship and activation rights for each of the four festivals were likely high-five to low-six-figure deals each, with another likely six-figure outlay for artist talent. Add in the cost of local labor and transporting the structure from festival to festival and it’s safe to assume the brand is spending millions on this country music marketing initiative.”

Also, Budweiser has apparently rebranded itself as “America.”

Pangbianr Interviews: Atmen, Kiwese, Wang Wen, Asian Dope Boys

Beijing-based zine/project Pangbianr has been on a roll recently, with fantastic detailed interviews of both local and foreign artists. Highlights include Chengdu collective Atmen (who are throwing some fantastic DIY music festivals), Kiwese owner Kristen Ng (don’t miss the nuggets on crowdfunding in Chengdu, and the rise of platforms like ZaoMengShe), weird collective Asian Dope Boys (who are the latest to join China’s label revolution) and post-rock titans Wang Wen.

Shenzhen: The Silicon Valley of Hardware

This multi-part WIRED documentary on Shenzhen’s maker culture and emergent hacker-spaces is fascinating. Lots of music-centric ideas in this one.

And finally:

This whole debacle.


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