China looks east and west at South By Southwest

South by Southwest

China looks east and west at South By Southwest

China’s economic rise has made even the names of provincial cities familiar in the West.

But try naming a Chinese contemporary band? Not so easy.

That may be changing, starting in the U.S. state of Texas at the South by Southwest festival.

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough has more.

He moves like Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. And FAZI’s Peng Liu is leading the charge for a new wave of bands from China who want to challenge assumptions about its pop music.

“Right now most western musicians are not very familiar with what China is doing in the music industry,” Peng says before taking to the stage at the South By Southwest festival.

If Peng’s taught, jerky judder on stage give away his Joy Division influence, German Krautrock is another.

But Peng also focuses on home, adding: “I write mostly about life in China China’s current conditions as well as our life and influences in the country.”

Even so, with the crowd for this showcase predominantly Chinese, these bands need time to persuade Western fans their sound is worth a listen.

Western music markets remain the most lucrative for now, but both Chinese and Western streaming services are aiming for massive revenue potential in China.

“We have rock n roll, we have electronic, we have jazz, we have hip hop but there are not so many people who know about music types,” Hongjie Li, the founder of the annual MTA Festival said.

Even so, he sees an opportunity.

“I think the biggest market is still China because most of them sing in Chinese. But for some then, like FAZI, maybe they will have a new market in Western countries because they can write songs in English, sing in English, they can promote them through Facebook.”

A new generation who can speak in all directions at South by Southwest.

Susan Wang talks Chinese music industry

CGTN’s Owen Fairclough spoke with Susan Wang about rising music streaming services in China.