Chinese bands struggle to make commercial success with popular music




While the global music industry is still reeling from the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese music industry is recovering, thanks to several television music group contests.

Music groups have recently become known to mainstream Chinese audiences, but insiders say it is still difficult to make popular music commercially successful.

Most groups in China are trying to market. A band named Mercy & Sorrow have been around for almost 10 years, have done commercial shows and even released an album. But even though it sounds cool, getting it paid isn’t necessarily easy.

Two of the five members have regular jobs and only play part-time. Before the pandemic, the group performed one show per week, each paying 10,000 or 20,000 yuan (about 1,500 or 3,000 US dollars). The band’s bassist says it cost them a lot of money to do concerts.

“It cost us between 100,000 and 200,000 yuan to set up our rehearsal studio. It also costs us 100,000 yuan to release an album, including printing, production and recording. and can be difficult. It’s not an easy business, “said Wei Yunqing, bassist for Mercy & Sorrow – the band started selling T-shirts on Taobao to earn a relatively steady income.

Meanwhile, other types of bands that rely on live house perform regularly. Wang Jing is on keyboards for a band working for the live house channel TZ Media. He majored in piano in college, and while most of his classmates became piano teachers, Wang wanted a life of playing. The live house band gives him a stable job, a reliable income and a chance to focus solely on his art.

“We have performances almost every night. It’s stable and has a large fan base. It allows us to devote our full attention to music production,” Wang said.


Jin Yuchen, a member of emerging music duo NoTwoBros and CEO of Eureka International, observes that only the best artists make money.

“The industry only ever understands the best artists who haven’t made a lot of money yet. They are monetized and underground artists are still struggling, especially during the pandemic,” Jin said.

Music producer Yang Yang has been in the music industry for almost 20 years. Yang offers a similar observation to Jin’s: if a group is not so well known, they should seek out all the opportunities to earn money.

The style of the groups also affects their commercial attractiveness. Most of them do rock, jazz or electro, and this is not always to the liking of the general Chinese public.

However, the recent popularity of reality TV shows could change that. Shows like The Big Band and Me to Us are attracting good audiences, and Yang says it’s a growing trend.

And these reality shows give groups a way to market themselves. The Wutiaoren group has been a success in The Big Band program, and the resulting popularity keeps their new online store busy.

The store sells t-shirts, posters, and badges, and it sold over 400,000 yuan in the first three days after opening. The Big Band is being made by production company iQIYI, which has announced plans to shoot a movie based on the reality show, bringing music to the screen and hopefully more money for the music. .

“Artists now have more ways to gain popularity and monetize. I guess these are really important steps in helping these artists to be successful,” Jin told CGTN Global Business.



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