Search results for 'Large'

Air To Headline Midi Festival?

As someone who recently spent three months and nearly a thousand pounds in flights, lawyers fees, bribes and fines to just be allowed to remain in the country I am all too aware of the bureaucratic nightmare that is attached to getting anything done in China. I really have to take my hat off to the upcoming Midi and Modern Sky Festivals. As it stands it looks like they are both going ahead even after a notoriously oppressive year for live music.

The sad thing is that they have been forced to go head to head, time-wise, in most cases asking the limited pool of acts for exclusivity. They are also both largely taking place indoors - Modern Sky in Haidian Exhibition Hall and Midi in The Olympic Centre - making for an all the more surreal and stilted affair.

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6Staff Blog, China, China Live Music, China Music Scene, Ed Peto, Large,

A Blog Post About Someone Posting Blog Posts About Blog Posts Posted On My Other Blog

During last month’s Olympics I had the good fortune to be introduced to Matt Yanchyshyn, a visiting IT manager for Associated Press (AP).

Roughly four years ago while living in the Senegalese capital of Dakar, Matt started blogging about the music he came across during his travels in the region. It was part of the first wave of audioblogs and "certainly the first to deal with African music" says Matt.

As his life and career has sent him to more and more exotic places, the focus of Benn Loxo Du Taccu - which means “One hand can’t clap” in Wolof - has developed to accommodate music from all around the world, with a journal giving background, anecdotes and context for the obscure, free MP3s (for a limited time)attached to the end of each post. A fantastic example of well communicated individual passion finding an equally passionate audience through the internet village. Musical discovery at its best.

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6MicroMu (Buchadian), Staff Blog, Ed Peto, China, World Music, Large, African Music Scene, Africa,

The Next Generation Of Music Consumers

This article originally appeared in Issue 191 (1st May 2008) of the MusicAlly Report.

China never fully adopted the “traditional” tools of music discovery and consumption: TV, radio and the print press are all heavily monitored by the government and relatively anodyne as a result; CDs never really gained any meaningful traction; live music events are circuses of permits and arbitrary cancellations.

The bleak circumstances of China’s music business have resulted in the Chinese consumer inadvertently leapfrogging into the next generation of music consumption, even before their western counterparts.

In February this year, after a 53% growth rate in 2007, the Chinese Internet Network Information Centre (CNNIC) finally declared the Chinese internet base to be the largest in the world with 221 million users. At 16% penetration, this still leaves huge room for growth.

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6Published, Staff Blog, China Music Industry, Ed Peto, China MVAS, Music Ally, China Digital Music, China, Client Work, Large,

Writing For The Chinese Music Press

In November last year I got a call from a flustered Chinese magazine editor. ‘Would you be able to do an 800 word album review for our December edition?’ she asked, adding ‘by tomorrow?’.

Normally I would have turned this down as the money tends to be poor and the deadline was a bit abrupt, but the magazine in question was Rolling Stone China - re-named ‘InMusic’ after a disastrous launch left them unable to publish under that name - and the album was Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’.

Radiohead Cover

Ultimately the prestige of the publication and the immediate relevance of the album (I had it on rotation at that point) saw me sitting down the following day to churn it out.

It was only after I got my copy back that I started to wonder why they had approached me, a westerner, to review such an important album. I met for a coffee with my editor Lua Zhou to ask how it came about:

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6Interview, Staff Blog, China Music Scene, China Media, Large, Ed Peto, Published, China,

So You Want To Sell Music In China?

Ahead of his MidemNet panel appearance, Mathew Daniel, VP of R2G (digital distribution company) in Beijing has a few observations and words of advice for labels seeking digital licensing opportunities in China:

As Olympic hosts and country-of-honor at MIDEM, China’s music industry is an increasingly common feature on the western agenda. There is, however, almost a whiff of the ‘Wild East’ in the way companies are approaching licensing in the Middle Kingdom.

It has to be realized that the vast majority of labels at MIDEM are probably currently unscathed by piracy in China and that’s likely because their music is so obscure in the Chinese consciousness that they have not even had the dubious honor of gracing the servers of China’s notorious MP3 search engine, Baidu.

Piracy in China often gets a lot of attention but many forget the other Ps of marketing and these are the basics that labels intending to come into China should first focus on. For dramatic effect, let me first quote Tim O’Reilly when he said that Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors and creative artists than piracy.

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6Digital, China Music Industry, Guest Post, Mathew Daniel, China Digital Music, China MVAS, Large, China,

China Indie Music Report : TV & Radio

NOTE: This is an extract from ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground.

The Chinese government is acutely aware that TV is the most effective medium for delivering key cultural and political messages. China Central Television (CCTV), the state-run national station, operates a range of channels, which, in the main part, are barefaced propaganda and state trumpet blowing. Their large scale, televised music galas showcase traditional and government approved music forms and are regularly watched by audiences in the hundreds of millions. These are the kind of viewing figures that excite people about China but in reality the shows are impregnable fortresses of glittery, spandex-clad state guff.

When Pop Idol imitator ‘SuperGirl’ hit China in 2004, the final was watched by 400 million people. The rush of mobile votes sent the government into a panic and severe restrictions were implemented, preventing the show ever happening in the same format again - The idea of a democratically decided pop show proving too much for a one-party state.

Channel V

Further down the pecking order, regional TV is a bit more conversational about the idea of coverage but the act really has to be sizeable due to the broad audience - mass appeal rules. You have to go to the foreign owned stations to find recognisable music programming.

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6Published, Ed Peto, Large, China Music Industry, China Media, Access China Report, UKTI, British Underground, China, Project Blog, Client Work,

Enter The Dragon : Introduction To The Music Business In China

NOTE : This article originally appeared as ‘Music In China : The Inside Story’ on The Register

How To Do Business In China, China CEO, The New Chinese Consumer… my shelves here in Beijing are stacked full of such books, all trying to throw some light on a country and market of seemingly endless allure to the west. A population of 1.3 billion people has marketeers around the world girding up their loins to do business here, each with a How To Do Business In China book tucked under their arm.

Unfortunately for the western music entrepreneur or artist, these books are helpful in only the most general terms. While there is a slew of practical, detailed advice on how to deal with rubber-ball factories and sales chains, the fledgling music industry here is such a bewildering state of affairs that fully-rounded advice simply isn’t available yet.

As in most other Asian markets, pop music has a real stranglehold over the mainstream - Mando-Pop, Canto-Pop, J-Pop, K-Pop - glossy, inoffensive music that satisfies the censors as well as the ‘bland criteria’ necessary for across-the-board media coverage. Despite the diverse musical heritage of China, mainstream pop is almost entirely informed by western music, from the basic pop song format through to instrumentation and lyrical content, although general production quality is still fairly poor. The Chinese audience, therefore, are already well familiar with all of the stock traits of western music: Guitar solos, crap raps in the middle-eight of pop songs, warbly diva vocals, key changes at the end of ballads, pseudo-rock bands, pseudo-hip-hop bands etc.

Your average western band, therefore, does not sound totally alien, it’s just that no one is willing to spend money promoting an international (and therefore niche) act when 90 per cent of CDs are counterfeit and an even higher percent of online music is pinched. It’s all about hitting the mass market straight out of the box and selling big, if you want a chance of making money.

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6Published, Ed Peto, China Music Industry, China Digital Music, Large, China MVAS, China Record Labels, China, China Live Music, Client Work, China Physical, The Register,

Interview : Pissing On The Bamboo Curtain

The Chinese independent music scene can be a hard nut to crack. Non-Chinese-speaking music fans have to be much more determinedly hands on in their approach than elsewhere in the world. Indecipherable band names, poorly recorded and hard-to-find albums and lack of English media coverage are just some of the barriers-to-entry, testing even the most resilient of music fans.

New podcast ‘Pissing On The Bamboo Curtain’ will be a real godsend to anyone looking at making sense of this exciting little scene. Podcasters Ian Sherman (who also happens to be Music Editor for Beijing Time Out) and Kyle Schaefer’s high-brow - yet somehow low-brow - ramblings will also be a godsend to anyone who enjoys apocrypha, obscure references and general verbosity.

Kyle and Ian

Kyle Schaefer and Ian Sherman

These guys know their stuff. They play good tunes as well. Here are links to the first two gloriously amateurish installments, hosted on the Tagteam Records site:

Sept ‘07

Oct ‘07

I took it upon myself to send a few questions their way - pulling back the curtain on Pissing On The Bamboo Curtain, if you will. They replied in a typically wordy and waggish fashion. Good stuff. Read on…

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6Interview, Staff Blog, China Music Scene, Ed Peto, Large, China,

China Indie Music Report : Publishing

NOTE: This is an extract from ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground

Publishing is a tricky concept in China. The typical Chinese approach to intellectual property is that ‘ideas belong to everyone’, so while it is difficult to make money out of something tangible like a record or a download, it is VERY difficult to make anything from the intellectual property contained within it. The Copyright Act was only passed in China in 1991, so it is still early days.

The Mechanical Copyright Society of China (MCSC) was set up in 1992 as the sole administrator for composition but it’s effectiveness is often brought into question by the publishers. In the last few years, the majors have taken it upon themselves to either do their own collection or find independents to take it on for them.

While the MCSC claims that they maintain a good flow of revenue back to the western rights owners, there is no mechanical collection agreement in place between MCSC and, say, the MCPS in the UK.

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6Published, Staff Blog, Ed Peto, Access China Report, UKTI, Project Blog, British Underground, China Digital Music, China Publishing, Large, China, Client Work,

Don’t Begin The Hype…Yet

There’s nothing worse than hyping things up too early. While Billboard magazine saw fit to call Beijing one of the top 5 cities to watch for music in 2007, regular gig-goers here are slightly less sanguine on the subject. This place has a long, long way to go before it can be compared to even the second tier cities in most other developed countries in terms of originality and depth of talent. As a rule, most bands are highly derivative as well as technically suspect, making the three chord mock-anger and incompetence-drowning feedback of punk music the weapons of choice.

That’s not to say that there isn’t a certain buzz in the air though. While there has never been a shortage of fan favourites like Brain Failure, New Pants and the now defunct Hang On The Box, there seems to be a certain knowing assurance in the current rising stars where there was only amateurish exuberance before. Bands like Rebuilding The Rights Of Statues (Re-TROS) and Lonely China Day, both of whom toured the States recently to glowing reviews, are just…well…believable, and that is a very rare quality in this town. Here are the Re-TROS playing ‘If The Monkey Becomes (To Be) The King’ at Beijing’s 2 Kolegas club last night:

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6Staff Blog, China Music Scene, Ed Peto, China Live Music, Large, China,

China Indie Music Report : Live Music

NOTE: This is an extract from ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground

The live industry in China has real potential. The annual Midi Festival in Beijing shows that there is a sizeable live audience for western derived independent music, with a crowd of 20,000 moshing, flag-waving, ironic t-shirt wearing, squiffy-hairstyled rockers per day over four days. The international bands playing were unanimous in saying they “didn’t think this was possible in China”. Those same international bands also had to find their own money to make the trip as performance fees and flights were not provided, so ‘one step at a time’.

The big question is where do those 20,000 indie music fans (and people like them) go for the rest of the year?

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6Published, Ed Peto, Staff Blog, Large, Access China Report, UKTI, British Underground, Project Blog, China Live Music, Midi, Split Works, China Market Entry, China, Client Work, China Festivals,

China Indie Music Report : Digital & Mobile

NOTE: This is an extract from ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground.

Digital is the hot topic in China. Due to the under-developed, pirate-dominated physical market and burgeoning mobile environment, China is on track to becoming the world’s testing ground for the digital age. The statistics are pretty staggering, with some suggesting a digital market of US$1.5billion by 2010 - With the second largest broadband network in the world, the advent of 3G later in 2007, 460 million mobile users and five million new mobile subscribers a month, who, on face value, would doubt them?

The view from the ground, however, is that all of these statistics need to be taken with a bucket of salt. All attempts by the Chinese government to combat online MP3 piracy, including all public ‘victories’ against pirates, should be seen as totally superficial - a lip service to the lobbying western majors. Internet MP3 piracy remains endemic, with less than 10% (a very generous estimate) of downloaders actually paying 14 pence/download for the privilege.

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6Published, Staff Blog, Project Blog, Ed Peto, Large, Access China Report, UKTI, British Underground, China Market Entry, China Digital Music, China MVAS, China, Client Work,

China Indie Music Report : Retail

NOTE: This is an extract from ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground.

The 90% physical piracy rate obviously puts the kibosh on your average high street retailer. FAB, the only significant legal high street chain is really out there on its own. One large distributor lists only 86 other stand-alone legitimate stores stocking independent content, servicing the whole of China - A worrying figure in a country where you literally can’t move for audio-visual outlets and CD/DVD street hawkers. None of your HMVs, or your Virgin Megastores have dared set foot over here yet.

The arrival of western product in the early 90s came courtesy of ‘saw-gashed’ CDs: Excess stock and deleted titles from western majors attempting to avoid taxation and disposal costs. These CDs had their cases cut to mark them as defective and were then shipped in to China through free-market economic ports like Guangzhou, only to end up on the black market. An end result that can be seen as a partial ‘shooting-in-the-foot’ for the western majors who then had to come in and fight against the pirate networks they inadvertently helped set up.

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6Published, Staff Blog, Project Blog, Ed Peto, Large, Access China Report, China Market Entry, Retail, Physical Distribution, China, UKTI, British Underground, Client Work, China Physical,

China Indie Music Report : Record Labels

NOTE: This is an extract from the ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground.

Due to piracy and negligible airplay royalties, the western record label model simply does not work in China. In most cases, domestic companies take over an artist’s entire life - Records, management, publishing etc. There is so little money to be made from simply exploiting a master that a label has to ensure it doesn’t miss any area of income in order to survive. This obviously poses a problem to western rights owners/managers looking to make money out of their narrower areas of interest.

The majors are all here doing their stuff, struggling away, but like all foreign companies they have had to enter into joint ventures to operate in China, slashing their already slender profits. They own the lion’s share of domestic pop music but with regards to international repertoire, they stick very much to frontline releases and global priorities with the occasional catalogue title.

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6Published, Staff Blog, Project Blog, Large, China Music Industry, China Market Entry, Record Labels, Modern Sky, Universal Music, Physical Licensing, Access China Report, Ed Peto, UKTI, British Underground, China, Client Work,

China Indie Music Report : Introduction

NOTE: This is an extract from the ‘Access China’ report, written by Ed Peto, commissioned by UK Trade and Industry Department and British Underground.

Every man and his dog is looking to China as the ‘next big thing’, but should the western music industry executive also be packing Fido into air freight and de-camping to the Middle Kingdom? Before anyone considers investing energy in China, it is important to be aware of just how different the industry is over here. There are some genuine areas of opportunity but let’s start with the grim facts:

  • Physical piracy runs at around 90%.
  • The average gig ticket is £3 and charging anything over £7 for a concert will alienate the young Chinese music crowd.
  • Publishing is a foreign idea to the Chinese and is therefore a tiny, unpredictable source of income.
  • All media is government owned or heavily government monitored and, in most cases, requires ‘financial incentives’ in return for coverage.
  • Despite a population of 1.3 billion people, the legitimate physical music market was only worth US$86million in 2006, making it the 20th biggest in world.
  • All foreign companies must enter a joint venture in order to set up shop in China, handing over at least 51% of their company in the process.
  • All music has to go through lengthy and seemingly arbitrary government censorship procedures.
  • China is a black hole of statistics, quite often by design, making market research and due diligence incredibly difficult.

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6Staff Blog, Published, Project Blog, China Music Industry, Large, Access China Report, China Market Entry, UKTI, British Underground, China, Client Work,

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