The third in a series of link-gathering expeditions to bring you quality content from around the web on Chinese music industry movements.
Festival season is almost upon us, with Strawbe Super Strawberry Festival 2016 kicking things off in Shanghai at the end of the month. Last year saw an astonishing 35 music festivals (counting our own) around the country in summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if the festival bubble will continue to grow in 2016.
For March, we have stories on music festival headliners (or the lack thereof), a welcome glut of radio shows focused on discovering Chinese music, Boiler Room coming to China, and the intriguing business model being pursued by Ali Music.
There’s never been a better time to get into Chinese indie music. There’s been a recent glut of fantastic radio shows, podcasts and online radio channels focusing on discovering Chinese music. Our pick of the lot is ‘Bang Bang Bang de Qiaomen Sheng’, a radio show from SOAS in London focusing on ‘contemporary’ Chinese artists, from Dawanggang to South Acid Mimi Dance Crew. It’s fantastic.
Bang Bang Bang… is also hosted on Frequency Asia, a network of online shows (similar to NTS in the UK) focusing on pan-Asian music. They’ve got five China-specific contributors so far, from Ran Music, thruoutin and AWEH to LiveBeijingMusic and Pangbianr. All worth your time.
The influential underground electronic music platform ‘Boiler Room’ is making its way to China in late April. The first broadcast (Boiler Room sessions are always livestreamed) features a heavyweight lineup: Kai Luen (aka Soulspeak), Howie Lee, Shao (formerly Dead J), Mickey Zhang and Elvis.T.
Music Festival News: Prodigy/Disclosure/Hyukoh to headline StrawbeSuper Strawberry 2016
Modern Sky’s StrawbeSuper Strawberry Festival 2016 features Prodigy, Disclosure and Korean hotshot band Hyukoh as highlights, along with UK dubstep/nu-metal mashups Modestep. The Chinese lineup, featuring regulars Second Hand Rose, Song Dongye, Re:Tros and Queen Sea Big Shark, is both solid and predictable. Strawberry is returning to Beijing this year, but no confirmation yet on who’s playing and when.
An interesting question on Quora. Kaiser Kuo’s answer, in particular, is worth your attention: “He remains widely recognized and generally well-regarded; at worst, people will say “I really only like his early stuff,” or “He’s no longer all that relevant,” or “I wish some of the old guard like Cui Jian would get off the stage and make room for the younger talent,” but you rarely hear anyone say ‘I hate that guy.’”
The VR juggernaut continues to roll through China. Two of the country’s biggest online video platforms have launched a dedicated ‘VR’ page, but content is still thin and concerns about bandwidth and hardware requirements still unaddressed. Still, a buzzword to watch closely for now.
More details are emerging about Ali Music, the ambitious new music division within Alibaba. Unfortunately, most of these details are buzzwords and vague handwavey talk about ‘transformation’ and ‘disruption’. What we do know is that they’re launching a new app that will function as some kind of business-to-business (B2B) channel, connecting musicians with venues, promoters and producers.