Welcome to the land of opportunity, fried rice, LEDs, crazy drivers, ridiculous night clubs, and most prominently of all, the fastest growing market in the world for electronic music. As part of Groove Dynasty’s drive to develop the industry, we’ve put together this overview of what you need to do to get involved in the China market, how to promote yourself, and how to start getting paid gigs in the territory.
Before we get started, lets have a look at some background of China.
- There are over 1billion people living in China, and over the past 10 years, a huge % of those people have moved from poverty into the ‘middle class’. Now instead of worrying about getting food on their plate, the 200m kids (15-24 yr olds) are looking for things to do with their ‘relative’ disposable income and time. This growth in the economy has effectively kickstarted dance scene, which we anticipate to become one of, if not the, biggest market in the world for electronic music, in particular festivals.
- Western social media is totally BLOCKED in China. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Soundcloud, you name it, blocked. Forget how famous you thought you were in the west, I guarantee you, unless you are Tiësto, Armin, Avicii or Hardwell, no-one has ever heard of you. Even these DJs struggle with numbers. What you thought was well know in the west, just isn’t known at all in China.
- Previously, there has not been much opportunity for Chinese DJs. They couldn’t communicate internationally (language barrier and social media), locally the clubs didn’t really care too much for the music, and there were no electronic festivals or movements to get behind the DJs and promote them. This meant the profession was not very seriously considered, you couldn’t earn much money and you certainly couldn’t get famous. However, thats all beginning to change, and rapidly. All the traditional Chinese pop festivals are starting to switch to electronic music, and there a now a range of huge electronic only music festivals, which tbh, are absolutely killing it here in China. They book a combination of international talent (where you come in), and local talent, meaning the industry is rapidly growing.
OK, where do I start?
We can’t cover it all in this article, obviously, so we’re going to give an overview, and follow it up with more specifics over the next few episodes of this blog. Let’s start with Social Media, probably the single most important thing for marketing in our modern day era. As we mentioned above, China blocks all your western socials, so you need to start fresh, with the Chinese versions.
You can compare this platform to Twitter. Its microblogging, post pictures, micro blogs, updates, and videos, directly from your mobile, and use it to communicate with over 800m users. Grow your account well, and you’ll be on the way to plentiful DJ bookings in China. The site actually has an english version, so you should be able to sign up without too much trouble.
Download app from App Store / Google Play
Whatsapp & Facebook, combined, on steroids. This is the fastest growing and biggest platform in China, soon to take on the world (in our opinion). You might of already heard of this super app, it does everything, message friends, book taxis, pay bills, invest in funds, the list is endless. In fact, people sometimes never come out of the app at all. The only problem is, its not really designed for celebrities or electronic music. You can register a personal account (which you will undoubtably need to communicate with local bookers and clubs), and you can add up to 5,000 friends, certainly a good start. It has a timeline, and you can share music & pictures, making it quite a good way to promote yourself.
There is also official accounts, but these are a little awkward for DJs, since they do not have timelines, and require you to write articles (not micro blogs) for each post. The interface is also on your desktop only, not mobile. We recommend this only for labels and promoters, since its doesn’t really make sense for DJs. You also need to have a local business or ID to register an account.
Screenshots from Wechat above.
A platform designed specifically as a social network and streaming site for electronic music in China, PYRO is a great place to get your content up. Featuring a Soundcloud like design with mixtapes and original uploads, plus photos, videos (on Youku) and a show calender, we recommend all DJ’s (and labels) get their profiles registered and kept update with the latest music etc. The platform is not monetised at the moment, but does feature a lot of licensed content, so you might find your DJ name is already registered. If this is the case, you can claim the profile, just email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will help you out.
Have a listen to Chace’s music on PYRO as an example of a rising star from China:
Great, now how can I get followers and bookings?
Like all territories, it requires local connections. This is even more apparent in China because of the various phenomenon surrounding China, so you’ve got to start linking with people on the ground. There are an estimated 20,000 nightclubs, and over 50 electronic music festivals every year in China, so a huge amount of bookings available. We’ll list some of them in the later blogs. For now, we recommend you start engaging on the platforms listed above with other like minded DJs, make music with them, comment on their tracks (they will use a translator if they can’t understand English), use the charts to find the most influential DJs, message them. Make contact.
Once you start getting some contacts, you can maybe do gig swaps, or even just mention you are planning to come through China, the local DJ’s love to collaborate and get to know international DJs. Most of them have never left the country and are very interested in hearing what you have to say.
Good luck and welcome to China!