Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Jonathan Kaiman — Beijing spends a billion to get China’s music industry rocking

A ‘Music Valley’ is among plans to boost the music industry. But will piracy and tight state control hold back progress?
From the top of a hillside in Pinggu village, an hour’s drive from central Beijing, the future of China’s music industry doesn’t look like much – just a vista of Mao-era farmhouses and parched cabbage fields.
Yet Beijing officials have announced plans to spend more than 10 years and £1.4bn turning the area into the “China Music Valley”, a sprawling compound that will be home to recording studios, instrument makers, music schools, five-star hotels and an arena in the shape of a peach....
China’s central government, concerned that progress in the country’s film, music and drama sectors lag behind its economic development, has designated culture a top national priority and promised billions of pounds in subsidies for the arts. “Culture is the lifeblood of a nation,” President Hu Jintao said at the start of the country’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition in November....

Despite the odds, some artists have forged their own path. Yan Haisong, the lead singer of the veteran Beijing rock band P.K.14, said his band made a decent living performing at festivals and producing records for up-and-coming artists. Yan added that no one in his professional circle had much interest in projects such as the China Music Valley.
“Combining music and politics is really strange, because the music you get out of it just won’t be any good,” he said. “If they really want to improve this culture, they need to open up a bit.”
The Raw Story
Beijing spends a billion to get China’s music industry rocking
Jonathan Kaiman | The Guardian

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