Beijing spends a billion to get China rocking

From The Guardian:

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.

While some fields have flourished under state support – its output of films has quadrupled since 2003 – China’s music industry is still fledgling, perennially constrained by rampant piracy and a stifling undercurrent of government control. While Gangnam Style cemented Korea’s place on the world pop map, China is still struggling with how to keep many of its artists paid. “The industry is so small that we don’t have enough writers, enough song creators, enough composers, we don’t have enough bands,” said Scarlett Li, the founder of music festival promoter Zebra Media.

Analysts say the music industry’s problems are primarily economic. The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has said that the country has a piracy rate of “virtually 100%”.

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