Chinese music streaming platform, Tencent Music Entertainment, announces US IPO

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Chinese music streaming platform, Tencent Music Entertainment, announces US IPOTencent Media2

Spotify‘s strategic partner in China, Tencent Music, has announced it will sell shares publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. The US IPO announcement was confirmed after a regulatory filing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Tencent’s music division is said to be valued around $30 billion, making it as valuable as Spotify which went public in New York in April, 2018. Each company owns stock in one another after a trade swap in December of 2017. Spotify owns 9% of Tencent Music, and Tencent owns 7.5% of Spotify.

Tencent is still keeping numbers close to the vest, telling Variety,

“the terms of the proposed spin-off, including offering size, price range and assured entitlement of Tencent Music securities for shareholders of the company, have not yet been finalized.”

The Chinese multinational investment holding conglomerate, Tencent, is valued at $480 billion on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, owning a variety of internet businesses, including WeChat, which has over 1 billion users. Tencent Music dominates the Chinese streaming market through QQ Music, KuGou and Kuwo platforms, with about 600 million users. 15 million of those users are paid subscribers.

The IPO will give Tencent Music new funds that it could use to purchase more content for its platforms. The Chinese streaming service has exclusive deals with all major labels, so they can decide which songs rivals can stream. Magnetic Magazine reported that the IPO would bring Western scrutiny to the massive Chinese tech company because the Chinese government has been known to be heavily regulatory on some media in the past. However, with a powerful tech space emerging in China, the Chinese government has proved slow or unwilling to impede progress.

H/T: CNN Money

Photo Credit: Wall Street Journal

China’s ‘ban’ on hip-hop evidences music’s cultural permeability [Editorial]

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Hip Hop

Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff of Migos collectively brimmed with anticipation on January 26, 2017. Culture, the Atlanta hip hop trio’s second studio album, was scheduled to drop at midnight — a follow up to 2016’s EP, 3 Way.

Its two lead singles, “Bad and Boujee” and “T-Shirt,” had catalyzed just the heavy anticipation for its release that Migos had sought: “Bad and Boujee” ascended to viral status, going quadruple platinum, while “T-Shirt” went double platinum. Their collaborative labor in the studio was poised to pay off, and the music industry was not only watching—it was attentively listening.

Culture predictably earned Platinum certification after crossing the sale point of more than one-million units. Come the beginning of 2018, the outfit found themselves among the nominees for “Best Rap Album” at the Grammy’s 60th iteration.

Migos released Culture II around the same time as their Grammy nomination. Like its predecessor, this new sequel of an LP was swiftly and hungrily consumed by their fan base, who’d been impatiently awaiting it since its announcement. The play count on Culture II must rest somewhere in the millions by now, and that number will have grown by the time a reader of this editorial reaches its end.

Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff  sit atop a musical empire of their own making, and yet, their broad repertoire would rank entirely as “tasteless, vulgar, and obscene” in today’s Chinese media landscape given its hip-hop classification.

The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television of the People’s Republic of China (SAPPRFT) — the country’s main media regulator—released four new “Don’t” media restrictions on January 19. Television networks are expected to abide by the newly published rules: “1. Absolutely do not use actors whose heart and morality are not aligned with the party and whose morality is not noble, 2. Absolutely do not use actors who are tasteless, vulgar, and obscene, 3. Absolutely do not use actors whose ideological level is low and have no class, and 4. Absolutely do not use actors with stains, scandals, and problematic moral integrity.”

The SAPPRFT’s promulgation of these stringent media rules “specifically requires that programs should not feature actors with tattoos [or depict] hip-hop culture, sub-culture (non-mainstream culture) and dispirited culture (decadent culture),” according to Chinese news source, Sina.

Across the Pacific, hip-hop accounted for a quarter of all music consumption in the United States in 2017, surpassing rock music to become the largest musical genre in the country for the first time in history.

Hip-hop’s rise to become the most popular genre of music for the first time last year speaks not only to the genre’s longevity in the context of the US music industry, but additionally to its continuing cultural and economic prominence. An underground musical movement of the mid-1970s, the genre originated in the Bronx in New York City as a recreational outlet that married elements of MCing, DJing, spoken verse, and break dancing. It offered a vocal platform for the block party artists that identified and used it as a vehicle of expression.

While hip-hop rides a wave of unprecedented centrality to the commercial American music market, it is duly an important, and perhaps a lesser known fact that this music remains only in a nascent stage in China. This germinal state of Chinese hip-hop that renders it vulnerable to the SAPPRFT’s newly imposed media rules. In fact, it’s almost as though these rules err on the nationalist side, seeking shut out a subculture with international roots. Hip-hop has not yet received the opportunity to become a cornerstone of musical commerce in the Chinese market, and is thus more susceptible to heavy restrictions — if not total attempted eradication.

The SAPPRFT’s limitations on the Chinese media’s portrayal of hip-hop will only further thwart the genre’s ability to gain a substantial market presence, being that hip-hop and its accompanying subculture is being written out of the Chinese media by the media’s chief regulators. “Hip-hop’s prospects in China seem dim after Chinese rappers [known by the stage names “PG One” and “GAI”] removed from TV shows,” posited a headline from the state-facilitated tabloid, Global Times. Global Times would go on to identify hip-hop as a “tool for people to vent their anger, misery, [and] complaints.” Another national news agency, Xinhua, stated that PG One “does not deserve the stage,” further remarking that “we [China] should say ‘no’ to whoever provides a platform for low-taste content.” PG One’s music has since been removed from a number of online Chinese music websites.

The Chinese Republic’s crusade on hip-hop as duly a genre and kind of culture that is “low-taste” in nature arises out of the state’s desire to regulate pop culture, a primary source of influence for youth in China and elsewhere. The SAPPRFT’s media rules that target the development and potential success of Chinese hip-hop seek to control, contain, and homogenize the pop cultural experience in China, as the genre “threatens” to become as substantial an element of pop culture there as it has in the US. On a more basic level,  “pop culture” classification briefly set aside, the SAPPRFT’s movement against hip-hop portrayal in the Chinese media represents a dangerous model of cultural construction, in which a culture is crafted and defined by its forced limitations.

Yet, as hip-hop flirts with Chinese media censorship its power becomes increasingly clear. The title “hip-hop” bespeaks a musical personality that has resonated in both the US and in China. Hip-hop’s subjection to such stringent regulation only evidences that the genre has traveled internationally, arrived, and exhibited its allure on Chinese ground in a sort of musical cross-pollination that evinces its pervasive quality.

Zhu officially confirms Tame Impala collaboration is underway, announces new label

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ZHU-Waters-of-Monaco-Adidas-China-Pure-Edit-screenshot-billboard-1548

Zhu confirmed a big collaboration and primed 2018 as another banner year the Mind of a Genius producer. Right as the calendar flipped, rumors of an impending collaboration with Aussie psychedelic rock luminaries Tame Impala began to circulate, with video clips capturing the alleged ID beginning to trickle in soon thereafter.

During a recent performance in China, Zhu took the opportunity to officially confirm to fans that the collaboration does in fact exist and it is underway, and later confirmed in a statement by the “Waters of Monaco” producer’s management team.

Zhu’s exciting news didn’t stop there though. The aforementioned performance in China came as part of a launch event for a new Chinese electronic dance music label called Liquid State, which will host releases from Zhu, Alan Walker, and burgeoning Chinese artists, among others in 2018. Liquid State is backed by Sony and Chinese streaming and tech powerhouse Tencent Music Entertainment. The new imprint will develop dance content with the intent of leveraging Tencent’s streaming services QQ Music, Kugou Music, and Kuwo Music to distribute said content. The move was effectively sealed by a reported 10% equity swap between Tencent and Sony’s licensing partner, Spotify, in December. Tencent, by comparison, boasts nearly double the users as Spotify across their three platforms.

This app has China living inside an episode of Black Mirror

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“Nosedive,” an episode of dystopian Netflix series, Black Mirror, depicted a world where a social ranking system determined everything from the quality of people’s homes to how long it would take to hail a cab. Citizens would incessantly rate one another on a star system after each and every cursory interaction, effectually determining the person’s overall ranking: the perceived worth of the individual.

Now, thanks to a social classification feature of Alipay, the central mobile payment app in China, called Zhima Credit, Chinese citizens are living in an uncannily similar, and altogether Orwellian, social order. According to Mara Hvistendahl in her story for Wired Magazine, Zhima users are rated on a scale of 350 (bad) to 950 (good), with higher scores yielding hordes of benefits, including faster transportation, access to luxury hotels and apartments, and even opportune bank loans.

However, those with unfavorable scores suffer in silence. Hvistendahl reports on her own experience as a first-time user, with a primordial score of 550, causing her to fork over a 30 dollar deposit on a bike rental for a trip across town. The negative repercussions of the app are often insidious; while scores are not public, Hvistendahl says users often speculate as to which individuals are “better left unfriended,” as friends’ scores are a significant determinant in the system’s calculations.

In addition to nearly all the individual’s spending history, Alipay can access data from a user’s third-party apps, like Uber and Airbnb, which is all then configured into Zhima’s algorithm. So, the app then knows, for instance, if the user is keen on paying bills late, over-indulges in video games, or has spread a nasty rumor online, all of which negatively impact Zhima Credit, according to Hvistendahl. Egregiously low scores comprise a 6 million person blacklist the Chinese government uses to publicly weed out “dishonest” people, who for example, defaulted on court payments.

While the US currently lacks an app with this much collective profiling and authoritarian influence (hats off to democracy), we willingly and tirelessly surrender data to tech-giants and corporations like Apple and Facebook, while rating systems like that of Uber’s can delay or even deny a user access from services.

 

 

H/T: Wired Magazine

Photo Credit: The Atlantic

 

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Beijing nightclubs shut down in the midst of China’s Communist Party Congress

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As more than 2,000 delegates begin to arrive in Beijing for China’s Communist Party Congress, country officials have called for the temporary closure of the nightclubs located in the capital as part of an effort to heighten security for the event. The meeting takes place every five years — it officially began on Wednesday, October 18 —and will extend into next week.

All Beijing based nightclubs have consequently been instructed to remain closed until the congress concldes. The abrupt shutdown has forced many Beijing promoters and nightlife entities to cancel anticipated events.

Nightclubs however are not the sole spaces being targeted for closure by officials. Airbnb rentals and restaurants, gyms, and karaoke bars are also being required to temporarily halt activity, the effort part of a larger initiative to “reduce the flow of outsiders to the capital.” While Beijing residents might find their weekend somewhat uneventful as a result, the closure will remain brief.

H/T: Resident Advisor

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Tiësto debuts latest VOL. 5 of CLUBLIFE

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Tiësto‘s CLUBLIFE compilation albums have attracted worldwide fame for over half a decade now, with each compilation serving to highlight the music trending in the region where the album was recorded. It’s been over two years since his previous Club Life album, but Tiësto has finally ended the long wait for another with the release of a brand new installation in this widely respected series, CLUBLIFE, VOL.5 – China.

The veteran DJ plays a crucial role in the 18 track EP, by producing or co-producing over half of the songs present, including a one-off remix of Chinese popstar Z.Tao.Tiësto does have an eclectic selection of talented musicians at his disposal including John Christian and SWQCQ, as well as international EDM superstar KSHMR.

This new addition to the CLUBLIFE legacy perfectly encapsulates the building excitement we find surrounding the burgeoning Chinese dance music scene.

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Chainsmokers Make Racist Comment in Promo Video for Ultra China

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Alex Pall, one half of the illustrious Chainsmokers, made an awkwardly racist comment during an interview this weekend before the duo’s trip to China for Ultra China. The video is now deleted, but not before some cringe worthy screenshots were shared of the closed captioning of Alex answering a question regarding his dog and touring.

The post Chainsmokers Make Racist Comment in Promo Video for Ultra China appeared first on EDM Sauce.

Tiësto previews ‘Club Life Vol. 5’ as his mix series ventures to China

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Tiësto’s signature Club Life series is expanding its borders once again. The mix brand got its start in Las Vegas, moved to Miami, continued on to Stockholm, and eventually descended in New York City. In an indulgence of wanderlust, Club Life is pushing forward, marking China as its next destination.

The decision to advance Club Life to China is a commercially conscious one — Asia is currently the fastest-growing market for dance music, a reality duly evinced by Live Nation’s timely establishment of Live Nation Electronic Asia, a division devoted to the development of electronic-focused events on the continent.

The fifth installment in the Club Life legacy will debut on Musical Freedom in the fall, followed by a tour in China. While the full track list for CLUBLIFE, Vol. 5 appears below, Tiesto has already offered fans a preview of what remains to come, releasing the third song of the compilation, “Scream,” an electro-house wonder.

CLUBLIFE, Vol. 5 Track List:

1 Tiësto & KSHMR ft Talay Riley – Harder (Harder Mix)
2 Tiësto x Vassy – Faster Than A Bullet
3 Tiësto & John Christian – Scream
4 Tiësto – Carry You Home ft. StarGate & Aloë Blacc (Tiësto)
5 Tiësto – No Worries
6 Tiësto & Sevenn – Boom
7 Tiësto & Diplo – C’mon (John Christian Remix)
8 John Christian – Oldschool
9 Tiësto – Give Me A Fat Beat
10 John Christian – Funkastarz
11 Tiësto & Dzeko – Crazy
12 John Christian – Slurph
13 Tiësto & SWACQ – Sumos
14 SWACQ – Whatsapp
15 Tiësto – Don’t Stop
16 SWACQ – The Impact
17 Tiësto, John Christian, SWACQ – Brolab

H/T: EDM Tunes

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Hardwell Partners With China Mobile For ‘We Are One’ Featuring Jolin Tsai

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One of electronic music’s biggest and most watched stars Hardwell has teamed up with one of Asia’s biggest pop sensations Jolin Tsai for a white-hot new release titled ‘We Are One’. As part of this highly anticipated studio release, the duo has partnered with China’s biggest mobile operating China Mobile Cooperation who have made the record available to its 800 million subscribers as a

The post Hardwell Partners With China Mobile For ‘We Are One’ Featuring Jolin Tsai appeared first on EDM Sauce.

An Interview With Dillon Francis & Steve Aoki Is Funnier Than It Should Be

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Dillon Francis and Steve Aoki recently performed together at Shenzhen’s (China’s) new Dazzle Club, and before the show, sat down with local blog That’s for an interview that rivals some of our strangest ones from The Chainsmokers.

The topics ranged from Steve Aoki’s involvement in the newest Dragon Ball Z video game to hypotheticals about who would win in a footrace with Dan Bilzerian. While the questions are nearly nonsensical in and of themselves, the answers are even more so.

Below are some excerpts from the interview; you can read the full piece on That’s here.

Did the video game developers [of the Dragon Ball game] just contact you out of the blue? 
Aoki: Yah, when you are a bearded Asian man in America, they come after you.

What have you experienced while playing [in China] that sets it apart from other places around the world?
Francis: Well, it’s really cool because I feel like they just really understand my music and, you know, I am Asian – so that’s one thing that helps me.

My last question for you Mr. Aoki is strictly hypothetical. If you were to race Dan Bilzerian in the 100-meter dash, who would win?
Aoki: Oh my god, Dan. The guy is like a f*cking beast, he has been training for like a gazillion years, he works out all the time and has better discipline that me, for sure. I mean, he’s a hard working dude, so he would crush me.

Steve, what can people expect from your next album, Neon Future III?
Aoki: We are doing like six collaborations with Dillon Francis, he doesn’t know about it yet though.
Francis: Six. Count them.
Aoki: The thing is it’s ‘Neon Future,’ so it’s in the future, so he wouldn’t know.
Francis: I wouldn’t know, but now I know.
Aoki: It’s [Neon Future III] about me coming back from the future, to let him [Francis] know now.
Francis: I’m down.
Aoki: Six songs in a row, it’s never been done before – two artists working on six songs on one album. We want to break the record, set the record straight –
Francis: Guinness Book of World Records!
Aoki: You know six is the magic number.

Before we wrap this up, tell me which is the superior burger Mr. Francis, the Whopper or the Big Mac?
Francis: That’s a good question, because they’re both very different. One of them is juicier than the other and one of them has better sauce than the other. I think if you’re looking for the juicier burger, you are going for The Whopper, but if you are looking for a tastier burger, then you’re going for the Big Mac.

 

Image via Instagram

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: An Interview With Dillon Francis & Steve Aoki Is Funnier Than It Should Be